Yamaha YPT 240 Detailed Review

One of Yamaha’s entry level models and also a keyboard that makes the most of the creative design and solid engineering background that has made the manufacturer so appreciated across the world, the Yamaha YPT 240 is a versatile yet affordable keyboard that delivers sound of the highest clarity and crispiness. Most importantly, provides plenty of functionality to make learning to play the queen of all instruments in an efficient, yet fun way. The unit is highly appreciated by advanced players as well – the ample set of features guarantees that you will always find something to try and to learn, whatever your level of playing skills.

General Features that Make the Yamaha YPT 240 so Great

The unit is classified as a portable digital keyboard and it is indeed surprisingly small when you first look at it. Finished in durable and high-quality black plastic, with the interface located in the middle where it is easy to reach, this 61-key unit is less than a meter long (945 mm) and it weighs only about 4 kg. The custom LCD display is easy to read and is surrounded by easy to use and comfortably sized function buttons. Sound quality is guaranteed by the two speakers, 12 cm each and the two amplifiers, each of them of 2.5W, placed on the two opposite ends of the keyboard.

The unit runs either on batteries (six batteries size AA) or on current from a power outlet supplied via the AC adapter. It also comes with great connectivity features – it has a USB outlet and a jack for headphones as well (especially useful for shy players who want to hone on their playing skills before playing their favorite tunes in front of an audience or for those who don’t want to disturb others in the house or in the room).

More Pros that Make the Unit Stand Out

This small, but complex unit comes with lots of other pros as well:

  • The YPT 240 is very easy to use, fitted with straightforward functions that even complete beginners can figure out within a few seconds from first opening the box
  • It comes with a huge tone and accompaniment bank that allow the player to create a background of various instrument to create the perfect illusion of playing with a band
  • It spans 5 octaves when the basic settings are on, but the unit’s interface offers the possibility of adding even more using the provided settings
  • The keyboard delivers 385 perfect, natural sound voices
  • The 32-note polyphony makes the keyboard suitable not only for beginners, but also for advanced players who want to play complicated pieces and require the best sound
  • The provided Master EQ system allows for tailoring the output sound to the actual situation and location the listening takes place
  • The Ultra Wide Stereo Technology guarantees great stereo sound in any environment
  • The keyboard incorporates Yamaha’s great Education Suite that teaches the user about every aspect of playing the piano correctly. The integrated songs can be played at the speed that suits the player’s skill level and there are lots of other setting options that make playing the same song over and over again more fun than you could ever imagine
  • The YPT 240 comes with 102 preset songs and 100 preset styles,
  • It also has an integrated metronome and the tempo range can be set between 32-280.

Any Cons?

The small construction of the YPT 240 is the result not only of the great, ergonomic and economical design, but also of the fact that it comprises 61 keys (by comparison, grand pianos have a standard of 88 keys and there are many digital keyboards that come with 76 keys). Our article on the number of keys a piano has goes in to a littile more details about the keys options you have. While this feature may be perceived as a con by a master pianist, it is actually a blessing for beginners who are just trying to figure out which key is which.

An aspect frequently mentioned by users as a con is the fact that the  package the Yamaha YPT 240 comes in includes nothing but the keyboard itself. If you want to use the YPT 240 with a stand, you will need to purchase the stand separately and the same goes for the batteries, the AC adapter and the headphones as well. If you consider the great price tag, though, you will see that the unit is more than affordable, even after you add the price of the stand and of the other components to the price of the keyboard.

Conclusion

Whether you are beginner piano player, currently in the process of figuring out the instrument or you are an advanced player, the Yamaha YPT 240 will not let you down. Perfect sound quality, lots of features and great learning aids – this is what you get with this versatile, small, portable keyboard that allows you to not only play at home, but also  take your instrument with you to parties or even on holidays.

How Long Does It Take to Learn Piano

A girl Learning to play painoSo you’ve just started your piano lessons and would like a general estimate on how long it will take to learn to play the piano “fluently.” Or maybe you’re thinking of short-circuiting the typical amount of time required by finding a good teacher or course.

In each case, the time you will need depends on factors like age, the style you want to master and the amount of time and dedication you can allocate to your piano lessons and practice sessions on a daily basis. The good news is, anyone can learn how to play the piano at a good level, whether they be a 9 year-old child or a 55 year-old adult.

The Different Ways to Learn Piano

Of course the first step in learning how to play the piano is finding the right tools. A grand piano or electronic keyboard are the best instruments for the job. You can also consider learning the basics on an electronic tablet with the help of a professionally designed piano app.

That being said, there are several different paths you can take to mastering the piano:

  1. The traditional way is to get a professional piano teacher and practicing under his/her guidance every week.
  2. Music books can help you learn the basic of musical notation, as well as the notes, tones and all other concepts you have to master before becoming a piano wizard. In theory, you can learn on your own just by studying from books and practicing, however, that can be a much more challenging endeavor.
  3. YouTube and other online video websites have extensive videos published by piano experts that outline the basic rules and principles associated with playing the piano.
  4. Additionally, you can consider the convenience and ease of taking online piano lessons. Not only are they easier to follow and more flexible, but they can also be less expensive than having your piano teacher visit your home a couple of times every week.

So how long does it take to learn how to play the piano through each of these different methods. Opinions vary, however, with the help of a good teacher or a well-designed online course, the time involved is much shorter.

Typically, an adult can learn to play decently by practicing each day for 4 hours over a period of 10 to 15 years. However, factors such as talent, the style you want to learn and the specific pieces you are more interested in paying will all factor in to alter that time considerably.

Music Books

Music books have all the knowledge you need. You can use them to learn about music, notation and the position of your hand on the keyboard. You can also find sheet music you can practice with and special exercises that will train your hand’s reflexes so you can learn piano faster.

However, without a teacher to explain everything, a music book is not a resource that will take you to piano mastery in no time. In fact, learning solely from music books often takes years, and requires a lot more dedication and practice than any of the other available methods.

YouTube

YouTube is a free online visual resource for learning many skills, including playing the piano. Basic piano lessons are easy to grasp from YouTube, and the teachers who prepared these lessons have already read all the books and mastered the basics, so you don’t have to.

While YouTube can lead you on a free and much faster path to learning how to play, it still comes with drawbacks. There is no interaction between student and teacher, and if you have questions you might need to wait days or even weeks for a teacher to respond to your comments. Also, the lessons don’t account for the specific challenges you may run into (that others typically don’t), so you’re still on your own in many respects.

Online Piano courses

Finally, an online piano course is just the thing. It allows you to gain all the benefits of music books and online video lessons, but in a more personalized, friendly and encouraging manner.

Online teachers can often sync their schedules to your convenience, so you don’t have to finish your work early or skip chores to avoid missing out on your lesson. Also, many courses are flexible and personalized to your own progress. If you have difficulty with a certain technique or step, your online teacher will often help you improvise, and suggest alternative exercises that will help you get over your challenges more easily.

How Many Keys Does a Piano Have?

Grand Piano KeyboardThe best instrument for learning to play the piano is an acoustic grand piano, which features a full set of 88 keys – which includes 52 white keys and 36 black ones. The white keys are designed for notes belonging to the C major scale, while the black keys are accidental ones required for playing in all the twelve keys.

But the classic 88-key piano is not your only choice when buying a keyboard. There are two other varieties, designed for improved portability and convenience when it comes to dealing with music styles that require the use of fewer octaves.

Weighing Your Options

Finding the right keyboard isn’t easy. You have to consider the brand, the price, the specific functions you need and have no use for. However, in terms of size, when buying a piano keyboard, you have three distinct options you can choose from:

  • The smallest, 61-key version for portable use and simpler songs;
  • A larger keyboard with 76 keys that is sometimes opted for when you need to play more complex songs, but would also like to retain the practical benefits of a smaller keyboard;
  • The full-size 88-key model, which is designed to mimic a grand piano, and is perfect for learning to play the piano.

Each of these options has its own pros and cons. Some would argue that a beginner needs no more than 61 keys, but even basic music books contain songs that would require at least the 76-key version. The latter is a more balanced option, but for the full advantages of a portable piano, you will need all 88 keys.

What Are the Pros and Cons of a Full 88-key Piano Keyboard?

A keyboard featuring all 88 keys has many advantages and only a few small drawbacks. Let’s take a look at the good news first: what makes these keyboards so special?

  • You can use them to play any song in the world, even the most complicated ones.
  • They faithfully imitate the sound and function of a grand piano, so once you learn to play them, you’ll know how to play the piano as well.
  • No improvisations are ever required.
  • You don’t have to pay a lot of money on upgrading from a smaller 61 or 76-key model, in case you need 88 keys after learning the basics.

That being said, keyboards with the full set of 88 keys can be more expensive, larger (measuring about 5 feet in length) and heavier than smaller keyboards. Despite these few drawbacks, they still offer the best possible experience, both for a beginner and for a seasoned piano player.

The History of the Magnus Electric Chord Organ

The electric chord organ was first introduced by Magnus Harmonica Corporation in the late 1950s. A new version of the original reed organs and home organs developed by Magnus in the ‘40s and ‘50s, the design was based on an entirely new idea, to cater mainly to beginners.

The electric organ later separated from the newer electronic models, and is now seen as an intermediary stage of development, between classical reed organs and cutting edge electronic organs.

Some of the earlier version only had 22 keys which relatively small by today’s standard and didn’t have a stand for reading sheet music.

Magnus’ Revolution in Crafting Fine Chord Organs

Regular chord organs have been around for a long time. They are a variety of home organ featuring a short keyboard and a set of chord buttons that allows musicians to play the melody using one hand and access the controls for accompanying chords with the other hand.

Magnus Harmonica Corporation was the first company to introduce the electric chord organ. But even before that, Magnus had a hand in developing improved mechanical organs through a then-revolutionary molded plastic reed comb.

1958 and the Start of a New Era

The success of their design led Magnus Harmonica Corporation to begin developing newer, more affordable and easier to use organs that would be convenient for buyers. The earlier version took a little bit longer to learn how to play. In 1958, they teamed up with television salesman Eugene Tracey, and promoted the electric chord organ – a device similar to classical chord organs, but with electric functionality and, often, a tabletop design.

For more than two decades, the Magnus electric chord organ was a successful sell. Beginners continued to buy it until the 1970s, and millions of organs were sold until that time. At the height of the organ’s popularity, Magnus employed more than 1,800 workers to produce organs of various shapes and sizes, some featuring tabletop designs, others with lit music stands and/or integrated legs.

Notable Musicians Who Used Electric Chord Organs

The first Magnus electric organ model was the 300: a two-octave, six major chord version developed around 1960. Since then, many other tabletop and free-standing models have appeared, some of the most popular being the portable model 1510, the 303 (this was the first free-standing model) and the popular 391 – one of the most successful and frequently sold electric organs developed by the company.

These organs and many other Magnus models were used by renowned musicians during the Flower Power and Disco eras of the 1960s and ‘70s. Some of the most well-known bands and artists included Johnny and the Hurricanes, Cortney Tidwell and a surprising number of bands from the ‘90s and even 2000s, when the electric chord organ started to make a comeback.