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Yamaha P-45 review

An entry-level compact piano that punches above its weight

  • £311+
  • €365+
  • $498+
Yamaha P-45 review
(Image: © Yamaha )

Our Verdict

The Yamaha P-45 is quite possibly the most popular compact stage piano for beginners, and it’s easy to see why. With an authentic feel, fantastic sound, and Yamaha’s world-famous build quality, the P-45 is the whole package.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Reliable
  • Fantastic sounds
  • Authentic piano feel

Cons

  • You’ll need to upgrade the sustain pedal
  • L-85 stand costs extra

What is it?

Yamaha certainly knows a thing or two about pianos. Whether it’s first-class grand pianos, life-like digital recreations, or compact practice instruments, they are always built to the highest standards. The P-45 may be Yamaha’s entry-level point into their piano line, but it certainly doesn’t scrimp on quality.

The P-45 is a compact portable piano designed to feel as authentic to a real piano as possible. The inclusion of Yamaha’s GHS (graded hammer standard) key action offers a familiar touch, and like an acoustic piano, the weight of the keys changes as you move from the bass notes to the treble notes. This results in a very satisfying playing experience for beginners and professionals alike. 

Weighing in at only 11.5kg, this compact piano is easily moved from place to place, whether that’s to piano lessons, jam sessions, or even gigs. The in-built speakers offer a rich sound on the go, while the headphone out makes it possible to practice in peace and quiet. 

The Yamaha P-45 comes with a basic sustain pedal and power supply and also has the option to upgrade from a keyboard stand to a piano-style stand (L-85) to complete the elegant look. 

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Yamaha P-45 review

(Image credit: Yamaha )
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Yamaha P-45 review

(Image credit: Yamaha )
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Yamaha P-45 review

(Image credit: Yamaha )

Performance & Verdict

It feels like the digital piano market is saturated with entry-level portable pianos aimed at beginners. However, the Yamaha P-45 successfully cuts through the noise, delivering a well-built, fantastic-sounding instrument perfect for the novice player or even the professional looking for a compact instrument to practice on. 

The first thing that has to be said is just how solid the P-45 feels - not that we’d expect anything less from Yamaha. The main body of the piano is robust and would most definitely stand up to the stress of gigging. The quality of the keys is up there with more expensive offerings from Yamaha - albeit a little lighter in touch compared to the Clavinova range. The matte texture on the black keys is a nice touch, but the white keys can feel a little too smooth. That said, at this price point, it’s hardly a big complaint. 

Overall the sounds contained within the P-45 are great - the grand piano in particular.

The graded element of the key action is pretty subtle. This isn’t something beginner players will immediately notice, but it’s a worthwhile inclusion from Yamaha. So what is a graded action? Well, simply put, this is when the low notes are weighted slightly differently from the higher ones. This mimics the way an acoustic piano behaves. These little touches all add up to a more authentic feeling instrument. 

So let’s talk about the sound. Overall the sounds contained within the P-45 are great - the grand piano in particular. Although 10 voices is a lot less than some other beginner pianos on the market, each sound here is very usable. Yamaha has cleverly included sounds players actually want, meaning there are no unwanted voices you simply won’t use. The single button interface means choosing a sound is very simple, and the minimal approach leads to a sleek, uncluttered look. 

A must-have for playing the piano is a sturdy sustain pedal, and while the Yamaha does come with one in the box, you can hardly call it sturdy. This rather basic pedal is a bit of a letdown as it isn’t the most responsive. Yamaha does offer an upgrade in the form of the FC4A/FC3A, and we highly recommend paying the extra and upgrading the pedal. Don’t get us wrong, the included sustain pedal will do for beginners, but you’ll soon outgrow it. 

Also consider

Best pianos: Casio CDP S-100

(Image credit: Casio)

Yamaha P-125: This piano is the advanced version of the P-45, including extra voices (24) and the ability to upgrade to a full piano pedalboard.

Casio CDP S100: This compact Casio offers fantastic value for money and a stylish modern look. 

On the topic of outgrowing elements of the P-45, it’s worth mentioning that it only has the ability to receive a single pedal and not the three found on larger pianos. Although you can purchase a piano-style stand for the P-45, you can’t upgrade to a full pedalboard. Its big brother - the Yamaha P-125 - does have this feature, so if you fancy having the full functionality of a piano, then it’s worth keeping this in mind. 

Lastly, let’s go over the connectivity. Again, the P-45 can seem a little limited compared to others on the market. Still, we can’t help think this is by design and not simply an oversight by Yamaha. For example, as you’d expect, there is a headphone output on the back for silent practice, but this also doubles as your main out for use live. Now, while it would be nice to have a separate line out for the gigging musician, it has to be said that the P-45 is clearly designed with the beginner in mind. So for most players, the headphone output is more than enough - not to mention it helps keep the cost down. 

Also located on the rear of the unit is a useful USB connection. This can be used to turn the P-45 into a powerful MIDI controller, and it’s a handy feature for any budding home producer.

So, if you’re on the lookout for a fully weighted keys piano that won’t take up too much space, and is built to last, then look no further than the Yamaha P-45. This fantastic piano may not be perfect, but at this price, it’s arguably the best on the market and won’t let you down.

Hands-on demos

Yamaha Music Europe

Dawsons Music

Sweetwater

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 1326x154x295 (mm)
  • Weight: 11.5kg 
  • Keys: 88 Graded Hammer Standard
  • Polyphony: 64 
  • Number of Voices: 10
  • Speakers: 12 cm x 2
  • Power Supply: PA-150B
  • Connectivity: Headphones, Sustain Pedal, USB to Host
  • Contact: Yamaha    
Daryl Robertson

First and foremost, I'm a guitar enthusiast – a fanatic, some might say. I'm a firm believer that most of the world's problems can be solved with a Gibson SG and a catastrophically loud amp. Before writing about music gear for a living as a Junior Deals Writer on MusicRadar, I worked in music retail for 7 years, giving advice on guitars, basses, drums, pianos, and PA systems. I also have a love for recording and live audio production; I'm a fully qualified sound engineer with experience working in various venues in Scotland, where I live.