Creative Tech News

Yamaha’s Sonogenic Keytar Can Turn Anyone Into a Party Musician

Dave LeClair 24-01-2019

Yamaha just announced the rather cool Sonogenic SHS-500 keytar (a musical keyboard that can be held like a guitar), which aims to be a device that can appeal to anyone from dedicated musicians to someone who can barely hold a rhythm at all.


The company says this new device is designed to let it enter into a whole new space in musical instruments. Typically, Yamaha releases keyboards, drums, and other instruments to people who are really trying to learn to become musicians, but this one is aimed to let anyone have fun playing regardless of skill level.

As Yamaha puts it, the Sonogenic SHS-500 is “smashing the barrier to entry and turning passive enjoyment into active creativity.”

What Makes The Sonogenic SHS-500 Stand Out?

The key to this keytar is the Chord Tracker application, which is meant to go hand-in-hand with the actual device itself. It sounds like it’s actually quite powerful. Basically, it’s able to analyze the music library on your device and actually send cord data to the SHS-500. From there, the player enters Jam mode, which causes the keys to only trigger the correct cords from the song they’re playing along with.

The perfect phrase Yamaha uses to describe what the keytar and app are doing is “instrumental karaoke.” Like real karaoke, you don’t need to be a skilled musician to play along, and that could turn a whole slew of people onto music who might have been too intimidated otherwise.

Of course, the device can also function as a standard MIDI controller and it can connect with all of Yamaha’s educational apps. That means not only can this device serve as a fun party trick, but it can easily transition into a real music instrument that could be a valuable learning tool for anyone who wants to get into playing the keyboard.


Here’s a quick look at some of the key features of this exciting new keytar:

  • Cord tracker and Jam mode allows anyone to play along to their favorite songs
  • 3.5mm stereo mini input
  • Bluetooth MIDI support
  • Full-featured MIDI controller and audio interface
  • Thirty high-quality Yamaha Voices (instruments and sounds)
  • Keys on neck provide pitch-bend, modulation, octave shifting, key transposition, playback control, and more

How Much is The Sonogenic SHS-500?

Yamaha intends to release its cool new keytar for $499. That’s pretty reasonable for a full-featured MIDI controller that can also be used at parties and for fun. It’s scheduled to hit stores before January wraps up, so you won’t need to wait too long to get your hands on one!

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