An Introduction: the Shigeru Kawai SK2 Grand Piano

“As long as you are building pianos, you should strive to build the finest ones in the world.”

These are the words of Koichi Kawai, founder of Kawai Pianos. Also known as Hatsumei Koichi (Koichi the Inventor), he was the first person in Japan to design and build a complete piano action. The dedication to creating the best pianos was also ingrained in the mind of a young worker adopted by the Kawai family named Shigeru. His love and commitment was recognized by Koichi himself and was trained to create pianos from scratch. When Koichi died, Shigeru took over the company despite sadness. For 35 years, he pushed to make the Kawai company an industry leader fueled by Japanese quality. Shigeru  often said, “Creating pianos is the greatest job I have ever had !”

It is only fitting then that his namesake line of Kawai pianos carries the commitment to high quality craftsmanship (and love for pianos) that he learned from and shared with  his adoptive father. The Shigeru Kawai SK2 is created by “Kawai’s most esteemed sound creators proudly known as Master Piano Artisans (MPA). They are the only individuals who can send Shigeru Kawai pianos out into the world. The title of MPA is a special qualification, bestowed upon the finest piano technician-those who possess skill, dedication, and a passion for music.” In short, they carry the same passion as Koichi and Shigeru Kawai themselves.

Watch the video overview below.

For the exquisite details of the Shigeru Kawai SK2’s features, click on this link.

Kawai Pianos are distributed in the Philippines by Lyric Piano Corp.

ORIGINAL OF THE SPECIES: U2, LARRY MULLEN JR AND YAMAHA DRUMS

Anybody who is in a band knows how difficult it can be to hold it together. Rare indeed are groups that stay together for decades with no line-up changes, temporary or otherwise. U2 is one of those rare bands. The acclaimed Irish band–who will be performing for the first time in the Philippines on Dec 11, 2019 at the Philippine Arena – has pushed many artistic and socio-political boundaries AND sold millions of records.

And it all began, literally, in Larry Mullen Jr’s kitchen in 1976. He started as a drummer in a Dublin marching band called the Artane Boys Band, and eventually put up a notice seeking other musicians. Singer Paul “Bono” Hewson, guitarist David “The Edge” Evans, and bassist Adam Clayton were among those who answered the call. Initially, they were called the Larry Mullen Band and included Evan’s brother Dik and two other friends. By the time they renamed themselves U2, the line-up settled into the quartet that has remained to this day.

While U2’s  unique sound is largely attributed to The Edge’s by-now often imitated delayed and effected guitar, Mullen’s powerful drumming shares equal credit. His martial drumming on tracks like “Sunday Bloody Sunday” and “I Will Follow” defined the early U2 sound and reflected his marching band snare drum chops.  U2 ex-manager Paul McGuiness described him in the Pop Mart Behind-the-scenes DVD as “really, the engine of U2.” Mullen is as unique a voice on the drum kit as The Edge is on guitar, or at least was: their idiosyncratic approaches have become part of each instrument’s lexicon.

If loyalty is a defining ingredient in the U2 MO, then Mullen’s relationship with Yamaha is a fine example: Mullen has been playing Yamaha drums for 35 years, nearly as long as he’s been with U2. Yamaha feted Mullen with a Yamaha Lifetime Achievement Award and while he jokingly thought he was receiving a motorcycle and self-deprecatingly referred to himself as “the cheapest alternative because they couldn’t get Phil Collins and Neil Peart,” Mullen does own up to his uniqueness as a drummer. Watch the video below as Mullen shares U2’s early beginnings and his supposedly underdeveloped bass drum technique which lead to alternate approaches to achieve the sound he was hearing in his head.

Yamaha musical instruments are available and distributed by Lyric.

(Cover image based on an original photo from Modern Drummer Magazine)

TOA Corporation Holds Training Days For Lyric Staff

TOA Corporation recently held training days on November  12 and 13, 2019 at Momento Hall, Robinson’s Magnolia for the branch managers and Pro-Audio staffers of Lyric branches across the metro. The focus was on the company’s latest line-up of speaker systems, wireless systems,  mixers, and the respective installation and servicing.

Founded in Japan in 1934, the venerable company has been creating public address systems, broadcasting  and other information transmission equipment and services for countless business, commercial, and entertainment venues across the globe encompassing offices, supermarkets, small to large worship venues across many faiths, gigantic sports arenas, and practically everything in between.

The TOA team that handled the training were TOA Japan’s Quality Assurance Manager Tetsuro Miyake and Marketing Head Sota Hiramatsu,  and TOA Singapore Project Engineers Clarence Ong and Andrew Lim, and Sales Team staffers Caleb Chan and Edwin Tan.

The TOA products highlighted during the training sessions included the 76-HX-7W F00 and 75-HX-7B F00 speaker systems, the 48-SR-S4S Line Arrays, the 244-MM-700F-AS 1CED00 4-channel mixer, and the 242-M-9000M2 CE 9000M2Series preamp.

For the complete list of TOA products, visit their website. Lyric is the official distributor of TOA products and services in the Philippines.

 

THE MAGIC OF ELIXIR STRINGS: A PLAYER’S PERSPECTIVE

by Francis Brew Reyes (guitarist for The Dawn)

It goes without saying (but I’ll say it anyway) that the guitar string is the only component that unequivocally matters the most on a guitar or bass. You can have the most transparent boutique overdrive, the best pickups, the most technologically advanced effects that can produce ultra-lush verbs and brew coffee, the most kickass tube amp since the dawn of time… all of these essentially are just amplifying and enhancing the initial signal from a vibrating string. Guitar strings are really the equivalent of vocal cords (and how you sing or speak through them is another matter, of course).

After you decide what string gauge and material works for you, you tend to forget about it. The only other consideration is when to change a set; no strings last forever after all.

However, Elixir Strings do bring you a bit closer to forever (in string life terms that is. Kinda like dog years, for strings).

I have to admit that I personally was not too concerned about Elixirs in the beginning and was quite happy–for decades–with my then-preferred brand. I know what I need: nickel-plated .011-.049s.  String maintenance wasn’t much of a problem either since I would clean the strings immediately after playing, whether it’s for two hours or two minutes. I can make a set last, including gigs, rehearsals, and daily non-essential noodling, for two weeks (three if I play less) before the plain strings start losing their tonal and physical sheen, the intonation starts to go awry, and then it’s off to the music store. And I would pray to God: pleeeeease, make them available dear Lord because .010s don’t feel quite right etc etc. One day, Divine Intervention and music store inventory went to the toilet on the same hour and I basically had to buy an Elixir set in a Lyric branch. At almost thrice my regular brand’s price, I gulped and wished I didn’t spend on so many beers the previous night. But I had to take the plunge; rehearsals were coming up and I tend to over-bend on .010s due to nerves and adrenaline.

It was a set of PolyWebs, .011-.049 of course. I had to get used to the smooth coated wound strings; tonally they also had a tiny bit less treble response which initially troubled me but eventually didn’t really have any adverse effect specially live (a tiny almost unnoticeable tweak on a stompbox or the amp and I was good to go. Guitarists, you know what I mean). Along with my daily clean-after-playing habit, that set—which also suffered whammy abuse—lasted three months. The plain strings still looked and felt smooth but my multiple abusive drunken pick scrapes shredded the coating on the D string, which I must say, still sounded good. A gentler player could make the set last even longer (and I could have if I checked my occasional over-exuberance) and I have a story related to that, which I will get to in a bit.

What I thought was an expensive set of strings turned out to be cost-efficient: instead of buying 5 or 6 sets for three months, I knew I could survive with one set of Elixirs. Gone too was the stress of worrying if i had enough sets on reserve; barring extreme abuse or an accident of God or a careless roadie, I can comfortably survive on four Elixir sets a year on my main guitar. How a set of Elixirs lasts with you is of course dependent on your  playing style and maintenance habits but definitely they will last longer than normal brand-name strings. The consistency is magical, and truly, it does wonders for your medium-term personal economics as well (i.e. more beer or whatever).

Currently, I use Optiwebs for their crispier and brighter tone. If you are curious, here’s how Elixir coated strings are designed.

Now for the related make-it-last-even-longer story. For an anniversary gig of The Dawn at the Music Museum, I asked permission from Lyric if I could use one of the new Yamaha Revstar electrics for the gig. I loaded a set of Optiweb .011s (Yamahas are shipped with Elixirs btw; the Revstar RS820CR was shipped with .010s.) for rehearsals a week before the gig date. I played the way I play and returned the guitar. That was 14 months ago. I’ve picked up that particular Revstar maybe five or six times around the office since then and the strings still sound and feel brand new. Normal strings would have started corroding a week after the gig, even without being played. In fact, my other guitars at home are all Elixir’d, including a Strat that I have retuned to standard and Eb and back six or seven times over the past half-year. The strings stay in tune each time (and let’s include string bends and whammy dives and pull-ups).

If you are already a regular Elixir user, I apologize for this boring essay. I would like to remind you to buy LEGITIMATE Elixir Strings only from Lyric stores; we are the official distributors for the Philippines. There are fakes being sold for cheaper–the fake packaging is disturbingly accurate– and the quality is so poor that they’re practically unuseable. Avoid being scammed and just purchase Elixirs from Lyric.

JVS VISITS LYRIC

The Lyric Main Branch in Horseshoe Drive hosted a day-long private showcase for the staff of one of our most valued product distribution dealers JVS.

Although its base of operations is in Bacolod, JVS handles the pro-audio and MI needs across the Visayas-Mindanao region through their branches.

Our product specialists– along with Lyric President Alma Joy Cristobal, Lyric General Manager Bel Sayson, Lyric Dealers Operation Manager Acela Fiedacan, and Dealers Operation Staff Eileen Racaza– were more than happy to update the JVS Team led by Fely and Cathi Jornadal on the latest products available through Lyric.