NAMM 2019: Yamaha Sonogenic SHS-500 Enables Music Fans to ‘Wear’ Their Self Expression

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Yamaha today announced the Sonogenic SHS-500 “keytar”—a musical keyboard that can be held like a guitar —that enables young music fans to play famous hit songs, regardless of musical ability.

Sonogenic represents a new Yamaha product category, which will bring a new level of spontaneity to the process of creating music for everyone who loves to listen to it, smashing the barrier to entry and turning passive enjoyment into active creativity.

Central to the SHS-500 experience is a Yamaha app called Chord Tracker, which can analyze the music library residing on a smartphone or tablet and then send chord data directly to the instrument via wireless MIDI over Bluetooth. With the unique JAM mode enabled, keys on the SHS-500 will trigger only the correct chords —and any soloing notes that go with them —as the song plays back through either a separate listening system or the one built into the SHS-500, via its 3.5mm stereo mini input.

This puts players “in the band,” letting them jam along to songs they already own and love without any fear of hitting wrong notes. Because the SHS-500 also integrates wirelessly with the vast ecosystem of educational apps and software, it serves as the ideal gateway for music fans who want to learn to play while putting up no obstacles to those who simply want to have an interactive “instrumental karaoke” experience that’s great fun socially or individually.

This makes the SHS-500 a more creative and powerful musical tool than “rock ’n’ roll band”-type video games, but also a more user-friendly and less intimidatingly “serious” one than professional keyboards and synthesizers.

There is plenty in the SHS-500 for more experienced musicians to appreciate as well. Via Bluetooth MIDI, it can control software-based synths and virtual instruments hosted on a laptop computer or mobile smart device, allowing the performer to roam freely, both indoors and out. USB audio streaming and MIDI make it a full-featured controller and on-the-go audio interface in one. Thirty high-quality Yamaha Voices (including piano, synths, and two drum kits) allow for stand-alone playing without any other connected equipment. Wheels and buttons along the neck provide pitch-bend, modulation, octave shifting, key transposition, playback control for songs on the connected device and more.

With the Yamaha Sonogenic SHS-500, music lovers can become full-fledged musicians, emulate them with no concern about playing unpleasant notes, or do anything in between, in a way that’s creative, engaging, immediately gratifying, and downright fun.

Pricing and Availability

The Yamaha Sonogenic SHS-500 is expected to ship during January 2019, at an MSRP of $499.

For more information, visit the Yamaha Booth at the 2019 NAMM Show in the Anaheim Marriott Hotel, Marquis Ballroom, January 24-27, 2019, orvisit https://yamaha.io/2AahXUF

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