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Strange key spacing on YC61

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I was very interested in getting a YC61 and finally got to play it in a store today for a while. I really enjoyed all the sounds/interface. I've watched all the videos I can find and really just needed to feel the new waterfall action before I decided to buy it. However, after playing it for a while I noticed that my fingers didn't fit between the black keys the same way they would on a piano when you play deeper on the white keys. I assumed this is because the keys are narrower on an organ? The CP88 sitting right below allows plenty of room for my fingers to play up high in the white keys.

I continued playing and continued to hit extra keys trying to adjust to the thinner gaps between the sharps, which is equally thin across the keybed. Except for on the D between C# and D# across the whole keybed. There it is a much wider spacing there. I can easily slide my whole finger up between the sharps on the D key without touching the black keys. It seems like the new waterfall action on the YC61 is oddly spaced, making it very hard to adjust to.

Why would the spacing be like that? I thought it might be typical of an organ, but none of the other brands of waterfall keys at the store were like this. They were all even and spaced like a typical piano across the full keybed.

Hard pass on the YC61 for me. I'm definitely a piano person looking to get into organ, but I could not see myself adjusting back and forth or even trying to play piano style parts on the YC61.

I just thought I would post this here since I never saw anything about it while researching the YC61.

Posted : 13/03/2021 10:38 pm
Posts: 803
Prominent Member

Yamaha non-hammer actions are all just slightly narrower in their key spacing than their hammer actions (or other companies' non-hammer actions). I think it's been that way at least since the DX7, and if anyone knows why, they apparently aren't telling. 😉 The only time I really notice it is when I'm stacking boards, and the Yamaha keys don't line up with that of the other boards. But it does bother some people more.

Posted : 13/03/2021 11:04 pm
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Thanks AnotherScott, but I mean the black keys have widely different distances between them at the D key compared to the other groups of black keys. I know it varies a little bit on a traditional piano, but here it is very exaggerated. Enough to throw me off and prevent my fingers from fitting between the keys in the F# - A# cluster of black keys.

Here is a screenshot with the relative sizes that confirms what I was feeling while playing it. I have the lines next to each other at the bottom to show the size difference.

Posted : 13/03/2021 11:32 pm
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Try the YC73. I liked it much better. Sold the YC61 or traded up.

Posted : 14/03/2021 12:00 am
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An interesting observation I've never noticed before! 🙂
It's well known that Yamaha have (for reasons only they will know) always made 'synth' keyboards with an octave spacing of 159mm, as against the more 'standard' piano octave of 164mm.
( In the interests of completeness, I should add that there is - in reality - no official 'standard' for these things!)

Although it normal for the C#-D# gap to be wider than the other 'group of 3' accidentals, I hadn't noticed (until you mentioned it!) that the Yamaha synth keyboards have an exceptionally wide gap there (it's around 18mm from the insides of both keys at 'white keytop' level.)

What is unexpected, is that the C#-D# gaps on the standard Yamaha GHS piano keyboard is slightly less (at around 16.5mm) - even though the 'group of 3' gap is the same as the synth/YC61 keybeds (c.15.5mm).

So - the gap between the 'group of 3' accidentals is the same on both 'synth' and 'piano' keybeds.
The C#-D# gap is wider than that on both types - and even wider on the synth/YC61 keybed.

I do know that some folk (like me) never have a problem with Yamaha's 'synth' key width or spacing - others do find it a problem though..

I hadn't realised that the C#-D# gap on the shorter 'synth' keybed size is actually wider than on their 'full size' piano keybed... ?? 😮 Interesting decision by Yamaha there!....

Edit: There's an interesting description on the reasons for varying key widths and spacings here:

Posted : 14/03/2021 9:17 pm
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Topic starter

Thanks Roger for that link to the site on key spacing. I think that pianos are just a bit more consistent with their spacing and leave enough room for my fingers between the 3 accidentals to play the white notes higher up on the key. The YC61 was too narrow there for my preference and the CP88 was just fine. I know it's a splitting hairs issue for many people, but I just wanted to report what I found when I was playing it in person.

I'll pick up a YC88 in the future to replace my cheap digital home piano I have outgrown.

Posted : 16/03/2021 9:23 pm

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