What Clavinova (or similar) should I buy? Or should I repair mine?
January 25, 2021 6:26 AM   Subscribe

Should I repair or replace my 17-year-old Yamaha CLP-170 Clavinova? I LOVE it, but it's really showing its age. I'd be happy to buy a replacement but I'm worried about the quality of a new one.

In 2003 I bought a Yamaha CLP-170 Clavinova. It has been a delight to own - I think they did a great job with the weighted keys, it has a small footprint, no tuning needed, and it's possible to practice with headphones. But it's showing its age. The speaker is blown-ish (thanks, kids), but more importantly, the keys have been cracking and crumbling at the back, and the resulting sticky keys are intolerable. I have replaced a couple of broken keys, but it is a HUGE pain, and it seems like every time I replace one, two more break. I wonder if the keys are just at the end of their useful life. While I would love a new instrument with a better speaker and no sticky keys, I'm concerned that new things are often poorly manufactured these days.

Specific questions:
-Can/should I try to repair the one I have?
-Does anyone know what the quality is like on the new Yamahas?
-Can you recommend a specific model replacement, Yamaha or not?

I want something upright-shaped and high quality, the closer to "piano feel" the better. Weight and cost are less of a consideration (I don't plan to move it often, and if I can get another 17 years out of this one I'll pay whatever). I don't care too much about bells & whistles, however I do use the record/replay function often for one-person duets.
posted by zibra to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (3 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Hi,

I have gone down the rabbit hole of trying to repair weighted-action keyboards and... I should have given up sooner. I spent hundreds to get a few stuck keys fixed, and then more keys started to fail. Granted, this was a Kurzweil stage piano, I believe Kurzweil did not make their own actions they outsourced it to other companies, and their reliability is worse than others. I ended up buying a newer model.

17 years is about double what I'd expect for this kind of action. If you like the Yamaha feel (some do, some don't) I think you should stick with it. They do make their own actions, the only problem is now they make several types, so you may need to try a few out to find the new model that feels like your old one.

One thing I'd recommend is to cover the keyboard with a dust cloth if it doesn't have a built in lid. The service person that I trust (that flat out refused to take my money to try and repair the old Kurzweil) said dust ingress is a major killer of weighted actions.
posted by sol at 8:35 AM on January 25, 2021 [2 favorites]

Best answer: OK so now I've gone down a bit of a rabbit hole. I can say generally Yamaha is well respected and have a reputation of reliability in the theatre and pro-sound worlds.

It seems your keyboard has a GH3 keyboard and action. Yamaha has a FAQ about some of their various actions here.

The lowest-end clavinova they sell new has the GH3X action. So it might be similar but is mechanically different - probably worth trying one in person.

The YDP-S54 seems to have the GH3 (not x) action, as does the YDP-164
posted by sol at 11:12 AM on January 25, 2021 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thank you sol, this is so helpful!
posted by zibra at 11:44 AM on January 25, 2021

« Older Quote about sexism and musicians in the 1970s?   |   Or maybe I really _should_ be worried about evil... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.