Yamaha Revamps 'Silent Guitar,' Improves Sound Quality

Aug 18, 2010
Naoshige Shimizu, Nikkei Electronics
Yamaha remodeled the "Silent Guitar" for the first time in nine years.
Yamaha remodeled the "Silent Guitar" for the first time in nine years.
[Click to enlarge image]
Daniel Ho, a musician, playing the guitar
Daniel Ho, a musician, playing the guitar
[Click to enlarge image]
Three models will be released.
Three models will be released.
[Click to enlarge image]

Yamaha Corp has remodeled its "Silent Guitar," whose strings hardly make sounds, for the first time in nine years.

Sounds of the Silent Guitar can be heard by connecting it to a headphone or an amplifier. It does not have a resonating part, and the volume of the sound generated by plucking the strings is about 1/10 that of the sound of a normal guitar.

This time, Yamaha enhanced the sound quality of the guitar by improving the preamplifier circuit, etc. The company will release three models of the new Silent Guitar Oct 1, 2010, in Japan, aiming to sell 5,000 units in fiscal 2010 and 10,000 units in a year.

The three models are the "SLG110S," which has steel strings like a normal folk guitar and electric guitar, the "SLG110N," which has nylon strings and a slim neck, and the "SLG130NW," which has nylon strings and a shape of a normal classical guitar. The SLG110S and SLG110N are priced at ¥73,500 (approx US$861), and the price of the SLG130NW is ¥78,750.

Yamaha released its first Silent Guitar in December 2001. And, since then, it has been annually selling 10,000 to 20,000 units, which is quite a hit for a guitar priced at more than ¥70,000. The company remodeled the guitar because many users demanded remodeling and the effect sounds of the guitar became outdated, it said.

To enhance the sound quality, Yamaha made improvements to the preamplifier circuit, which adjusts the frequency and volume of input acoustic signals. For example, the company reduced noise by changing the alignment and wiring of the capacitor. To convert live sounds into acoustic signals, Yamaha used a piezoelectric sensor installed at the part to which the strings are connected.

Moreover, Yamaha newly developed a DSP (digital signal processor) to realize output signals with a resolution of 24 bits and a sampling frequency of 44.1kHz. The resolution and the sampling frequency of the previous product are 16 bits and 32kHz, respectively.

By employing the new DSP, Yamaha added two sound effects, "chorus" and "echo," that change output sounds in addition to "reverb," which adds reverberant sounds. When the sound effects are being used, the new guitar can be played for about 13 hours, which was increased from 7.5 hours thanks to the low power consumption of the new DSP. The guitar is powered by AAAA batteries.