Roland MP-700 & Yamaha CP-30

Competitors to Wurlitzer and Rhodes: Two Transportable E-Pianos From the Late 1970s

What a Real Loser Looks Like:

Roland MP-700, Roland Corporation, 1977, From the collection of: EBOARDMUSEUM
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Roland MP-700

Roland versus Yamaha! These two giants of the music industry tried to create dynamically playable e-piano alternatives to the widespread Wurlitzer and Rhodes pianos almost simultaneously at the end of the 1970s. And looking back today, it can be argued that both of them failed somehow. However, in the battle of the Yamaha CP-30 versus this Roland MP-700, there was ultimately only one clear winner.

Let’s break it down.

The 76-key range of the Yamaha CP-30 was unusual compared to the range of the Roland MP-700 of just 75 keys. One small point for Yamaha!

Alongside harpsichord, the Yamaha CP-30 offers a full three piano sound variants which, just like the Roland MP-700’s two variants, are only marginally different from each other. That’s still a point for Yamaha!

The MP-700 includes the CE-1 chorus which isn’t called legendary for nothing and allows you to create wonderful beats. The CP-30 manages this effect using two fully independent generators which can have considerably different tunings. Honky-tonk forever! Another point for Yamaha.

Using the accent feature, the MP-700's attack phase can be greatly amplified. A somewhat rare feature, but a clear point for Roland!

The dynamic key action of both pianos was thoroughly impressive in the late ‘70s. But today we’re already soaring to new dimensions. So five points for both. Or maybe no points for both :-) the keyboards are what they are …

The other two octaves deliver polyphonic bass sounds, but only on the MP-700. A point for Roland!

In terms of rare features, the CP-30 can point out a few prominent users: ABBA experimented with it, and Keith Emerson used it in the Bahamas to record the ELP album Love Beach. You can’t say any of that about the Roland! The MP-700 emerges the clear winner in the rarity charts. It’s so rare that no other MP-700 eboards are even noted in the comprehensive EBOARDMUSEUM database apart from the one seen here.

Let’s finish our scoring with the design. The MP-700 has been superbly finished with an established Roland quality and also looks how you’d expect a very attractive e-piano to look.

Roland MP-700, Roland Corporation, 1977, From the collection of: EBOARDMUSEUM
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However,

Yamaha CP-30, Yamaha Corporation, ab 1976, From the collection of: EBOARDMUSEUM
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the Yamaha CP-30 is one of the most elegant instruments the music industry has ever brought out. It’s a real designer piece which you should just sit in front of in silence for 15 minutes to get a true idea of its perfectly shaped proportions. That’s easily 200 points for Yamaha!

Pulling out the manual cover to create a stand for the CP-30 is the only thing that mars its otherwise flawless looks. Still, it’s an encouraging example of the practical thinking and construction by some designers.

Yamaha CP-30 Ständer, Yamaha Corporation, 1976, From the collection of: EBOARDMUSEUM
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Enough said! The next 15 minutes of my time will be re-dedicated to the CP-30. I’m not going to turn it on. I'm just going to sit in front of it, marvel at it, and take it all in … :-)

Roland MP-700 - Demo (1976) by Die BoxEBOARDMUSEUM

Roland MP-700

Demo by Die Box

Yamaha CP-30 - Demo (ab 1976) by Kiko OnateEBOARDMUSEUM

Yamaha CP-30

Demo by Kiko Onate

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