Yamaha P45 Review 2020- The Best Keyboard for Beginners?

Yamaha P45 Review 2020- Is it Beginner-Friendly?

Yamaha makes some great and durable products and the P45 keyboard is just one of them. Introduced in 2015 as a new and improved replacement for the Yamaha P35 (discontinued), it is the most affordable of the Yamaha P series digital keyboards. Let’s get into the Yamaha P45 Review.

If you’re here, you’re probably a beginner looking for your first keyboard. Maybe you’ve been learning keyboard for a few months already on a mini keyboard or a MIDI controller and you’re looking for a upgrade to get yourself closer to the real thing.

An Evaluation of the Yamaha P45

Yamaha P45 Review – How Does it Sound?

The Yamaha P45 sounds very good for a keyboard/digital piano in the under $500 category. It uses the Advanced Wave Memory (AWM) stereo sampling, offering 10 instrument sounds.

These are the 10 voices you can choose from:

  • Two Grand Pianos
  • Two Electric Pianos
  • Two Pipe Organs
  • Two Harpsichords
  • One String Symphony
  • One Vibraphone

You can access these sounds by pressing on a button on the keyboard and hitting the corresponding key labelled with the desired instrument. Once you have selected the instrument, you can add reverb and chorus effects while playing them.

Labels indicating each instrument voice on Yamaha P45 keys

The Yamaha P45 is a 64 note polyphony keyboard. What this means is that 64 notes can be played at the same time, resulting in few or no dropped notes, even when you’re playing complicated passages or using the sustain pedal for a extended time.

This is a huge improvement from the 32 note polyphony of the Yamaha P35. The P45’s tone is fuller, richer and more nuanced.

Yamaha has designed the stereo speakers for the beginner pianist practicing at home. At 12cm and at 6 watts each, they are a little weak and lacking in punch and dynamics. It’s just not powerful enough to fill a room and personally. 

However, the inbuilt amplifier is of a markedly higher quality. Once you plug in with a pair of headphones, the sound transforms immediately to sound impressive and clean. 

You can listen to the sound of the piano here.

What Is The Feel and Touch of the Keyboard?

The P45 is a full size 88-key weighted keyboard that comes with comes with Graded Hammer Standard (GHS) keyboard. The GHS utilises a hammer mechanism that mimics the keys of a real piano.

Going up the scale, the keys go from heavy in the lowest notes, to lighter and more responsive to lighter playing gradually. There is a genuine feel to the keys that gives you an authentic piano-playing experience. 

I have to say that Yamaha does this quite well, probably because they have been around for quite a long time and put out some quality digital pianos (and acoustic pianos). Having graded keys is important if you are thinking of switching to an acoustic piano in future or looking for a portable digital piano you can travel with.

You can even adjust the touch sensitivity of the keys to better suit your playing style or what you want to work on. There are four available modes: Fixed, Soft, Medium (default) and Hard.

The black keys are in matte black, which means you can play for a longer time without your fingers slipping on the keys (when your fingers start to sweat).

Key Features of the Yamaha P45

Dual Mode

The dual mode lets you to play two instruments at the same time. For example you can layer a piano with a strings symphony or a harpsichord with strings.

Duo Mode

With the duo mode, the piano can be split into two identical zones. This function is very useful for students learning to play with a teacher as you can learn from your teacher sitting right beside you, by copying note for note on the same keyboard, rather than having to look up and glance over at a separate keyboard.

USB Connectivity

The Yamaha P45 also functions as a MIDI keyboard. Just connect the keyboard to your computer via the USB drive, pair it with a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) like Logic Pro or a production suite like the Komplete 11 and you will have a world of other sounds under your fingertips. 

Like any other MIDI keyboards, you can also use it with Sibelius or Finale when scoring or composing.

yamaha p45 midi
USB Connectivity At The Back of P45

The USB port also lets you connect to your iOS device to use with iOS apps like the Yamaha’s free Digital Piano Controller that lets you tweak the settings of the piano right on your iOS device.

There is also a built in metronome. Other functions include transposition and fine tuning, which allows you tune the keyboard up or down from A=440hz, for when you’re playing with other instruments that are tuned slightly higher or lower than A=440hz.

Accessories (Included)

The P45 comes with an AC power adapter, a music rest, sustain footswitch (FC5) and owner’s manual.

If you’re coming from an acoustic piano, you will find that the sustain pedal included with the keyboard feels light and flimsy, being made completely of plastic. It may be worthwhile to buy a separate one to get the full piano playing experience, especially if you’ll be using it often.

Accessories (Purchased Separately)

Other accessories not included in the box but are quite essential are the keyboard stand, bench and a pair of headphones.

p45b bench and stand
Mount The Keyboard On A Bench and Stand For Practicing At Home

Using the headphones during practice gives you a little privacy if you’re self-conscious about others hearing you when you’re practising. The keyboard sounds even better when plugged in with a good set of headphones.

If you’re a performer and looking to use this keyboard for a playing in a venue, you may want to connect it to a keyboard amplifier. The speakers are only 6 watts each would not be powerful or loud enough to fill a room.

Yamaha P45 Review Verdict

This keyboard is suitable for you if you’re a beginner or an intermediate player on a tight budget. If you’ve been playing for a while now, you may find that this keyboard is lacking in features you may want like additional instruments and effects. 

Even though the sound may not be as impressive as the higher range models like the P115, which is sampled from the renowned Yamaha CFIIIS 9′ concert grand piano, it’s definitely good enough if you’re starting out.

At 25 pounds, this keyboard is very easy to carry around if you’re travelling a lot to gigs. Just remember that you should plug it into a separate amplifier, preferably one made specifically for keyboards.

How Much Should I Spend if I’m a Beginner?

If you’re a beginner, it’s not advisable to not spend too much on your first keyboard, especially if you aren’t sure yourself if you’re sticking with the keyboard or maybe switching to another instrument in future.

You should not get a keyboard that is too cheap too, as cheap keyboards are (typically) poorly made, compromising a lot on sound quality and the general playability and feel of the keys. 

This is a common mistake beginners make, buying instruments that are poorly made to save a few bucks. You may be discouraged from playing or practicing on it because it wouldn’t sound good and play well and authentically under your fingers.

You might even wind up prematurely giving up on learning a beautiful instrument.

The Yamaha P45 is a great affordable choice for those still learning the basics and working on their technique and do not need the bells and whistles that come with the keyboards of a higher price range.

Yamaha p45 Alternatives

Here are some keyboards in the same price range as the Yamaha P45 you may also want to check out:

Yamaha P45 VS Yamaha P115

If you can afford to spend a little more, take a look at the Yamaha P115, which is also in the Yamaha Portable Series (P-series). The P115 is priced slightly higher and has many more features than the P45. It also sounds better as it is sampled from the Yamaha CFIIIS 9′ concert grand piano.

Classical players who have to play complicated and dense pieces may want to look at the P115, since it will sound better and more sonically representative of a real acoustic piano with the 192-note polyphony.

References and Sources

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