The Yamaha GB1K is pitched as an ‘entry level’ model in the world of Yamaha grand pianos. But don’t let that description colour your view of this superlative instrument; just as it is possible to buy a small family hatchback car with four wheel drive, electronic guidance systems and every other optional extra, so the GB1K comes loaded with features which belie it’s compact size.
The new Yamaha GB1K Enspire Disklavier, for instance, is designed to incorporate some of the company’s most revolutionary current features into a grand piano which will fit in most lounges. The finer points of the Disklavier system are discussed elsewhere on our site, but suffice to say that by taking an instrument with a deeply traditional history, and respectfully and subtly incorporating up-to-the-minute technological features, Yamaha have achieved that near-impossible balance of fundamentally updating the role of the piano in customer’s lives without compromising the mystique which is unique to finely crafted acoustic instruments.
Sometimes labelled as ‘baby grands’, pianos of this type are in no way less practical or refined than their larger cousins. If anything, the technology and design features which go into squeezing such a high-quality instrument into so restrictive a package make it in some ways a more developed and sophisticated product than those which are produced without the need to satisfy such considerations. However, it could be conceivable that a manufacturer could create a compact model which performs adequately in every measurable way, yet lacks some elusive quality which makes it underwhelming in terms of overall playability.
This is an accusation which could never be levelled at the Yamaha GB1K grand piano. Yamaha are a company whose product development has never been solely driven by figures, either in terms of performance or of the sales of respective models. Rather, Yamaha designers and craftspeople set themselves lofty goals related to the experience of owning and playing their instruments, and they systematically consult with their customers (including many notable professional musicians) in order to track their success.
As a result, even though the Yamaha GB1K is the only one of Yamaha’s grand pianos currently manufactured in Indonesia, rather than Japan, it is nevertheless built by the same highly skilled technicians and craftsmen, who have been fully trained by Yamaha, and who help to retain the expectations of quality which is demanded of all of Yamaha’s acoustic instruments. What results is a highly affordable baby grand piano that has an astonishingly wide tonal palette and expressive range for its size, making it the market leader for grand pianos in this price range.