We’ve said before that we’re all in favour of digital piano manufacturers taking a few risks with their designs - shout outs to Donner and Casio for their recent efforts - so we’re fully onboard with what Roland has done with its new concept model.
Unveiled as part of the company’s ongoing 50th anniversary celebrations, this has a one-piece wooden body that incorporates Japanese oak, and was created in collaboration with Japanese furniture designer Karimoku. There’s what appears to be a clamshell lid, which lifts up to reveal a display.
The combination of classic materials and innovative design is no coincidence, as it plays on the fusion of past and future that Roland wants to highlight during its half-centenary year. The wooden body promises to help deliver truly resonant piano tones from the speakers, which Roland says are powered by its latest technology. The company also claims to have come up with a keyboard that offers “a touch that’s more natural and responsive than ever before”.
Since the release of its first electronic pianos, the EP-10 and EP-20, back in 1973, Roland has been a consistent innovator. In 1974, the EP-30 became the world’s first touch-sensitive electronic piano, while more recent breakthroughs include 2009’s V-Piano and the Facet concept grand piano from 2020.
The new piano joins Roland’s Jupiter-X 50th anniversary model in its celebratory concept line-up. Announced in May and featuring a fully black keyboard with gold accents, this is based on the standard Jupiter-X synth.
There's also the D-Flux concept electronic drum set, a decades-hopping electronic drum set that bears more resemblance to Roland's early electronic kits than the V-Drums we know and love from today.
As you might expect, neither of these keyboard instruments is available to buy, but you can find out more about them, and Roland’s history of developing pianos and synths, on the company’s website.