Today, we’ll be reviewing the Yamaha P-45, an entry-level digital piano with a fully weighted keyboard, 10 built-in instrument sounds, and compact design.
The P-45 and the P (Portable) line in general are Yamaha’s response to hugely popular budget pianos from Casio’s Privia line. The P-45 is the most affordable digital piano with fully weighted hammer-action keys in Yamaha’s arsenal.
The piano has become very popular among beginners and intermediate players for its simplicity and a very attractive price, not to mention the high quality and realism of Yamaha instruments.
Yamaha has also released a special Amazon Exclusive version of the piano, the Yamaha P71, which we’ll talk about further in the review (Summary section).
Yamaha P-45 Specs
- 88-key fully weighted keyboard with matte black keytops
- Graded Hammer Standard action
- Touch Sensitivity (Hard, Medium, Soft, Fixed)
- Sound: AWM Stereo sampling
- 64-note polyphony
- 10 instrument sounds (2 pianos)
- 10 preset piano songs + 10 demo songs
- Modes: Duo, Dual
- Metronome, Transpose, Fine-tuning
- Speakers: 6W + 6W (12cm x 2)
- Connections: USB to Host, Headphone jack, Sustain Pedal jack
- 1,326 x 295 x 154 mm (52.2” x 11.6” x 6.0”)
- 11.5 kg (25 lbs. 6 oz.)
Check the availability and current price of the Yamaha P-45 in your region:
Yamaha P-45 is an 88-key hammer action digital piano with built-in speakers. The piano inherited the compact and lightweight design of its predecessor – P35; they look completely identical.
Portability is one of the things I like about the P-45. It will easily fit into smaller spaces and will be a nice addition to your home interior.
The piano is 52.2 inches wide, 11.6 inches deep and 6 inches high. The P-45 weighs only 25 lbs and light enough to carry by one person.
The piano would be a great choice for on-the-go musicians and anyone who appreciate mobility. The instrument will fit into most cars, so you can easily take the keyboard to gigs or on the road.
Don’t forget though that the P45 is still a full-sized, 88-key instrument and isn’t suitable for long trips by plane/train.
Anyway, if you’re going to travel with the piano, I strongly recommend buying a padded keyboard bag to protect your instrument during long/often transportation.
Take a look at the table below to quickly compare the P-45’s size to some other popular digital pianos:
The piano does not come with a stand. The size of the piano allows you to place it on a table or any other flat surface, but you can always buy an optional X-type stand or the L85 furniture stand if you want the keyboard to be stationary.
We’ll talk about a stand for the P-45 in the “Accessories” section.
Control panel of the P-45 is very simple and straightforward. There are only two buttons and a volume control.
The “Power” button turns the instrument on and off; the other button is called “Function” (Grand piano) button, which you can use to either select Grand Piano sound or access all the other sounds and features of the P-45.
You’ll need to simultaneously press the “Function” button + one of the piano keys (with a label above) to select the rest of the sounds, adjust touch-sensitivity, metronome tempo, etc.
This way of navigating is pretty common for entry-level digital pianos.
The P-45 is available in black color only (P-45B).
The P-45 features fully weighted 88-key keyboard, called Graded Hammer Standard (GHS).
It’s Yamaha’s most affordable hammer action, which you can find in most entry-level digital pianos from Yamaha. The feel and action of the keys of P-45 are very similar to those of an acoustic piano.
The keyboard replicates the feel of the hammers inside an acoustic instrument, using actual little hammers inside the keyboard rather than springs (semi-weighted actions).
The GHS action has heavier touch in the low end and lighter touch in the high end just like an acoustic piano.
The keyboard is touch (velocity) – sensitive, which means the volume/timbre changes depending on how hard or soft you play the keys, reproducing the rich dynamic range of a grand piano.
You can adjust the level of touch-sensitivity to better suit your playing style. There are 4 preset settings: Fixed, Soft, Medium (default) and Hard.
The “Fixed” setting makes the keyboard not sensitive to the touch, producing the same amount of volume regardless of how hard or soft you play the keys.
The “Hard” setting, on the other hand, will provide the widest dynamic range, where you’ll have to strike the keys really hard to produce the loud sound.
Unlike some higher-end models, the keys on the P-45 don’t have moisture-absorbing keytops that replicate the feel of Ebony and Ivory.
However, black keys of P-45 have matte finish, which will prevent fingers from slipping off when they become moist.
The white keys are glossy but i wouldn’t say it’s a problem, furthermore many acoustic pianos have the same glossy keys.
It’s also worth mentioning that Yamaha’s GHS action tends to be a bit less noisy (noticeable when playing at a low volume or in headphones), compared to the Casio’s Tri-sensor hammer action, but in terms of realism, Casio’s action is arguably better.
To accurately capture the sound of an acoustic instrument and create high-quality samples Yamaha uses its well-known AWM dynamic sampling technology.
The sound you’ll hear on the P45 is a true stereo sound recorded from a full concert grand piano at different dynamic levels.
The P45 is not great for musicians who need a variety of instrument sounds and sound effects to create music. The piano has only a basic set of sounds, which would satisfy most piano players.
Watch the video below to listen to the P-45’s Concert Grand sound:
You can make the sound deeper and more expressive by adding reverberation effect. There are 4 reverb types available on the P45: Room, Hall 1, Hall 2, Stage.
You can also adjust the depth of the effect from 0 (no effect) to 10 (maximum depth).
That’s it as far as sound effects go.
The piano tones have been slightly improved over the previous P35 model. But, the most significant improvement is that the polyphony has been doubled from 32 to 64 notes.
As a result, the piano will be able to keep in memory twice as many notes, allowing for a fuller and richer sound.
While 32-note polyphony may not always be enough for playing complex classical pieces, 64-note polyphony will do in most cases.
The P45 features 2 x 12 cm built-in speakers (6W + 6W amp). The sound is loud enough to practice in a relatively small room or to perform in front of a few people, but not more.
For a live performance, playing along with several instruments, you’d definitely need an external amplifier as the sound is weak for such occasions.
The quality of the sound through the onboard speakers is pretty decent, especially considering the size of the instrument. The sound remains clear and doesn’t distort even at max volume.
You can get an even better sound by plugging in a good pair of headphones, which will provide a clearer, more detailed sound as well as an immersive listening experience.
The piano has a basic set of features that will satisfy most of the beginners and probably intermediate players.
Dual Mode will allow you to layer two instrument sounds so that they sound simultaneously across the entire keyboard range. For example, you can layer strings with the piano sound or combine whatever sounds you like to get some new interesting sounds.
You can also adjust the volume balance between the sounds to make one instrument sound louder than the other.
Duo Mode splits the keyboard into two equal sections that have the same pitch ranges. It allows two people to sit side by side and play the same notes at the same time.
The mode is often used by piano teachers; sitting next to a student they can play some tunes, and the student can follow along on the other part of the keyboard, playing the same notes.
Split Mode, which would allow you to split the keyboard between two different sounds, is not available on the P-45.
Transpose and Fine tuning
Like any other digital piano, the P45 doesn’t need to be tuned (ever) and comes tuned at a standard A440 pitch.
Fine tuning function allows you to raise or lower the pitch of entire keyboard in 0.2 Hz increments to match the pitch of another instrument or singer, for example.
The P45 also has transpose function that will allow you to change the pitch of the keyboard in semitone steps.
For example, you can shift the pitch and be able to play a song in a different key without changing your hand placements.
Transposing also comes in very useful if you want to play a song written in a difficult key with many black keys involved; you can simply shift the pitch of the keyboard and play the song in a different easier key.
Recording and Playback
The P45 doesn’t have a built-in MIDI or audio recorder, which would allow you to record and playback your performances. However, you can still use USB (MIDI) connection and, using certain music software, record your music.
A built-in metronome keeps a steady tempo for you by ticking at a consistent speed. Practicing with metronome helps develop such fundamental skills as time keeping and a sense of rhythm.
The P-45 enables you to adjust the beat (time-signature), tempo and volume of the metronome.
Auto power off function prevents unnecessary power consumption by automatically turning the instrument off after approximately 30 minutes of no operation.
The function can be disabled if needed.
The piano is equipped with all the necessary ports and jacks to connect the instrument to external devices, such as headphones, external amplifiers, sustain pedals, etc.
All the connectors are on the back of the instrument.
USB (type B) terminal
The big change over the previous P35 model is that instead of Midi In/Out ports the P45 has a USB to Host port, which in most cases is a more convenient option.
It allows you to transmit MIDI data to external devices including computers, tablets (adapter is required), etc.
To connect the P45 to the computer you’d need to buy an additional A to B USB cable. But don’t worry, they’re pretty cheap.
Once you’ve connected the piano to your computer, you can use the keyboard as a MIDI controller and take advantage of various music software available out there (GarageBand, FlowKey, Musescore, etc.)
Depending on the app, you’ll be able to learn, compose, record and edit your performances, and do many other fun things that the keyboard alone doesn’t offer.
If you prefer to practice in private or want to get a more detailed and accurate sound, you can always plug in a pair of headphones to the P-45’s 1/4″ stereo jack.
The built-in speakers will automatically shut off, and you’ll be able to play any time you want without bothering others.
The only thing I find inconvenient is that the headphone jack is on the back of the piano.
The jack can also be used as a Line out to connect the piano to external speakers, amplifiers, mixers etc.
Sustain pedal jack
This is where you’ll need to plug in an included footswitch, which functions the same way as a sustain pedal on an acoustic piano.
The jack will also work with third-party sustain footswitches/pedals that have ¼” plug (pretty much all of them have).
Predictably, the included Yamaha FC5 sustain footswitch works as it’s supposed to, but is somewhat flimsy and doesn’t look very nice.
It’s basically a plastic box-like pedal, which is far from what you’ll find on an acoustic piano. Therefore, buying something more substantial and realistic may not be a bad idea.
The M-Audio SP-2 piano-style pedal is an affordable alternative to the included footswitch. It has a durable metal construction and feels like a real piano pedal.
When it comes to a stand for the P45, there are 3 options for you to consider.
The 1st option is not to buy a stand at all. The P45 is compact enough to place it on a desk, table or any other flat surface. For some, it’s maybe not very convenient, but still, that option is available.
The 2nd option is to buy a portable X-type stand.
The Starter Bundle includes the Yamaha PKBX2 X-type stand, which will work with the P45 just fine.
However, there are many other great stands in the different price ranges available on Amazon separately from the piano.
One of my recommendations would also be the RockJam Xfinity Heavy-Duty adjustable stand.
The 3rd option is a furniture stand that would be a stationary solution and great for those who don’t plan to move the piano around much and want it to stay in one place.
Yamaha offers the L85 wooden stand that fits the Yamaha P-45, P-71 and P-115 digital pianos. The stand is included in the Deluxe bundle but can also be bought separately from the piano.
The Yamaha LP5A 3-pedal unit compatible with the L85 stand won’t work with the P45 because the piano doesn’t have a special pedal unit connector.
As I mentioned, it’s possible to take P45 on gigs, rehearsals or trips. However, it’s important to use some kind of protection for the keyboard to prevent it from damage during transportation.
For its 88-key pianos, Yamaha offers the P-Series Soft Case, which is a great option to consider if you plan to move the keyboard from place to place a lot.
Although the P-45 will fit into the Yamaha bag, there many other durable gig bags out there that will fit the P-45 just fine, including Casio’s PRIVCASE Privia Case, Gator cases, and so on.
Headphones come in very handy when you want to practice in private, focusing solely on your playing and not disturbing others nearby.
Moreover, a good pair of headphones will provide a clearer and more detailed sound compared to the onboard speakers.
Check out this guide to learn how to choose the best-sounding headphones for your digital piano.
So is the P-45 (P-71) worth the money? I’d definitely say it is.
For its fairly affordably price, you get a very decent digital piano with realistic piano sound and a full-size hammer-action keyboard, which mimics that of an acoustic piano.
It makes the P-45 perfect for learning on and helps build proper finger strength and technique needed for playing an acoustic piano
Portability is another big plus of the P-45. The instrument will easily fit into limited spaces and can be carried by one person.
The P-45 is a great option to consider for a college student living in a dorm room who needs a compact piano alternative at an affordable price.
Unfortunately, the piano lacks features such as a MIDI recorder, Lesson Mode and Accompaniment function, which would be nice to have.
But you’re a beginner on a budget and looking for a simple, no-frills digital piano with fully weighted keys, realistic piano sound, the P-45 is a great keyboard to consider.
Check the availability and current price of the Yamaha P-45 in your region:
There aren’t quite a few digital pianos that compete with the Yamaha P-45 in the same price range. And if you’re willing to invest $100-150 more, there are several great alternatives that you may want to consider.
Yamaha P-45 vs Yamaha P-125 (Full Review)
The Yamaha P-125 is next model up in the P-series. It’s a more advanced keyboard, which comes with a bunch of extra features and upgrades over the P45.
Let’s start with the two most important aspects of any digital piano: action and sound.
While pianos share the same Graded Hammer Standard (GHS) action, the sound processor is different.
At the heart of the P125 is the Pure CF sound engine. It uses samples of the Yamaha CFIIIS 9′ concert grand and combined with 192-note polyphony (P-45: 64 notes) gives you a solid, natural piano sound.
The difference is quite noticeable, and on its own makes it worth paying the extra money for the P-125.
The P-125 also has more sophisticated and powerful sound system with 4 speakers (14W), compared to the P-45 with only two speakers (12W).
Aside from the major sound upgrade, you get a bunch of useful features.
Firstly, the P-125 allows you to record your performances using its 2-track MIDI recorder (each hand part can be recorded separately)
Secondly, the P-125 has 50 preset songs that you can practice by playing right- and left-hand part separately.
Other features include 10 accompaniment styles, a Split Mode, Line Out jacks and compatibility with Yamaha’s Smart Pianist app.
Lastly, the P-125 has more instrument sounds (24 vs 10) including a Mellow Grand, Vintage E.Piano as well as Wood and Electric Bass.
That’s pretty much it when it comes to differences between the P-45 and P-125. And considering the P-125 is not that much more expensive than the P-45…
Well, if you’re just a beginner and you’re not sure if you’re going to stick with learning the piano then paying the extra money may not worth it for you.
On the other hand, if you already have some experience and think that you might need the P-125’s extra features and higher quality sound, you’ll probably be better off with the P-125.
Yamaha P-45 vs Casio PX-160 (Full Review)
The Casio PX-160 despite being slightly more expensive than the P45 might be an interesting alternative to the Yamaha, especially if you feel that you need a little more than the P-45’s basic features.
The PX-160 offers almost twice as many instrument sounds (18) as the P45(10) and more importantly have 2-track MIDI recorder, which will allow you to record and playback your performances right onboard.
The Tri-sensor Scaled Hammer Action keyboard provides Ivory & Ebony touch and is a bit more realistic in my opinion than the P45.
The PX-160 also has more powerful speakers (2 x 8 W) compared to the P45 (2 x 6 W), which in practice provide richer and louder sound.
Check the video below to compare the pianos side by side:
Yamaha P-45 vs Korg B1 (Full Review)
An entry-level keyboard from Korg is actually very similar to the P45 in a way that it’s pretty basic and straightforward and without lots of add-ons.
The Korg B1 has only 8 instrument sounds (3 pianos) and no recording capabilities.
Instead, it offers the fully weighted Natural Hammer keyboard and powerful 18 W sound system with Motional Feedback technology. The design of the B1 is also very appealing to my taste.
However, for the same price the Casio PX-160 offers more features and its Tri-sensor keyboard with Ivory-feel keys feels more authentic than the B1’s keyboard.
Check the video below for a blind sound comparison between the two pianos:
Is a USB output suitable for using a VST WHILE PLAYING?
In order to change the sound coming from the piano (I know it comes from the computer, I don’t want a gap between pressing the keys and hearing the sound!)
It is perfectly suitable since it’s a wired connection (as opposed to Bluetooth) there hardly will be any problems connected to sound lags.
I have read through your notes and still undersided. I have owned a Korg key board for 10 years which has now lost a lot of key function so looking for a rep[lacement. I have viewed a Yamaha P45 which seems good to me. I play for my own enjoyment, am almost 80 so just need a standard type of keyboard with pedal sustainer. the P115 sounds nice, and how do I purchase this instrument from you, are you in N.Z, or are we dealing with US dollars? What price would be the P15 or P45 with postage costs please. I have a stand.
Hi Ruth, considering you already have some experience with digital pianos, I’d recommend considering the Yamaha P-125 (successor to the P-115), which has a better sound engine, more features, and better speakers compared to the P-45 I’m not selling any digital pianos on my site. However, you could check Amazon, Sweetwater, Musician’s Friend and other major retailers to find out the price and delivery options. I hope this helps
Hi Lucas, I am looking for a piano for my 3 year old daughter who loves music. But I have no idea where to start and what exactly to look for. What do suggest for this age range?
Thanks in advance.
Hey Delain, good question, actually!
Considering the young age of your daughter, it’s probably a bit premature to invest any serious money into a high-end digital piano.
My advice would be to start with something more simple and affordable and then, if your daughter sticks with it, upgrade to a digital piano with fully-weighted keys to ensure she gets a more realistic playing experience similar to a real piano.
There are a lot of beginner-friendly keyboards to choose from.
While they’re not necessarily the best choice for playing piano, they have a number of advantages over digital pianos including a wide selection of built-in sounds, accompaniment styles, and interactive features, which I think could benefit kids who are only beginning to explore music, sound, rhythm, and are too young to take piano lessons.
In the meantime, check out these two articles to learn more about the differences between keyboards and digital pianos and how to choose the one that suits your needs:
1) 5 Best Digital Pianos Under $500 for Beginners
2) The Ultimate Guide to Buying a Digital Piano
If we’re talking about portable keyboards, I recommend taking a look at these:
A keyboard with light-up keys is another good option to consider. A good choice would be Casio LK series.
I hope this helps.
P.S. I will definitely write a more in-depth article on how to choose a keyboard or a digital piano for a child with some product recommendations.
Thank you, Lucas! From soup to nuts, I followed through with recommendations on the Yamaha P71 (Amazon) and the various accessories (as covered in your highly detailed, thoughtful review.) For you: Ashish Xiangyi Kumar’s Youtube Beethoven selections will never leave you disappointed. He tends to go with the new breed…that is to say, today’s crop…Jonathan Biss, Paul Lewis, et al.
The P-45 is ideal for me I bought it and love it. It’s my first piano I’ve always had synths. Not bothered about midi or recording as I have a home studio to record on. To me it sounds great and being like a proper pian has improved my playing immensely. For the price and what I need it for it’s the best choice for me. Sounds great recorded. You can hear it on my YouTube channel.
Johnny, that’s awesome! I’m glad you’re enjoying your P-45.
Hoping you’re going well,
I tell you I’ve just got my Yamaha P-45, and can’t play it because it didn’t came with the AC adapter.
After reading the users manual I got quite concerned of the risks on wiring the instrument to any other adpater than yamaha’s ones.
Evendo, due to the current situation on Covid in my country, it is very difficult to find one. And so, a person told me I could use any other adapter if it fitted to 12V and 1A.
I wanted to know if you have some advice on that information.
Thanks in advance,
Charles from Valpo, Chile
While I don’t think anything bad is gonna happen provided you match the exact specs of the original adapter, I’d still contact the Yamaha support just to be on the safe side.
By the way, it’s weird that your P-45 didn’t come with the AC adapter. It should be included with the P-45 by default, have you tried asking the seller about the missing AC adapter?
I have been searching the web for 2 days for a method to record the audio from my P-45 using a DAW, like audacity. I tried looking at the “Recording and Playback” section of your review but it was a bit vague. Could you help me out here and explain the process to me when you’re available? I have a USB MIDI cable, but I’m not sure what software I need for my laptop to record the MIDI data and how to turn it into audio. I’m also speculating whether or not the “PHONES” (or “LINE OUT”) port can be used to connect to my laptop and if the recording will have a high enough quality through that. Thanks for your time.
As far as I remember, Audacity is not really designed for MIDI, it’s more for basic audio work. For MIDI, try GarageBand, it may be good enough for your purposes. In case you need more than just a MIDI recording, you can either record the audio signal from the P-45 directly via the headphone jack or record a MIDI file first and then render it as audio using a VST plugin (in this case the sound will obviously be different from you keyboards’ native sound).
Have you looked at our Keyboard Recording Guide yet? We’ve covered pretty much everything when it comes to digital piano/keyboard recording there.
I recommend Reaper as an excellent DAW.
Yep, another good option.
Do you know if M-Audio SP-2 is fully supported on this DP, including half-pedal capability?
Thanks in advance,
The M-Audio SP-2 will work with the P-45 just fine. However, note that it only works a simple on/off footswitch and doesn’t have half-pedaling capabilities. As far as I remember, the P-45 doesn’t have half-pedaling support either.
You are right, M-Audio SP-2 doesn’t have half-pedaling capabilities. According to the manual, P-45 does have half-pedaling support, but it requires Yamaha FC3A pedal for that.
Thanks again for the answer.
Oh, my bad. Correct, the P-45 itself does support half-pedaling. Thanks for bringing that up!
I would like to buy a piano and I am very beginner. I don’t want to waste my money and I don’t want to pay more so I couldn’t decided 🙂 Do you thing Roland F-10 is worth the price?
Roland F-10 vs Yamaha P125 which one would you recommend?
Personally, I’d do with the FP-10 because of its action. Sound-wise, I don’t have a strong preference. The P-125 sounds nice, maybe a bit more neutral than the FP-10. But many people enjoy the rich tone of the Roland as well, so it’s a matter of preference.
Absolutely, I think it presents one of the best price/value ratios as far as beginner digital pianos are concerned. Check out this article for a more in-depth analysis.
I have just purchased a yamaha p45 and was wondering how to change the hammer weight like you described above. How does one go about doing this?
Obviously, there’s no way to change the actual weight of the hammers, what you can do though is to adjust touch sensitivity, or in other words, how the instrument responds when you play loudly or softly. I’ve explained that in more detail in the Keyboard section. The instructions on how to change touch sensitivity on the P-45 can be found in the user manual.
Thank you for all the information. I purchased a P-45 and find that the lower half of the piano has a loud, heavy sound, while the upper registers have a slight, light sound, rather faint. Can this be changed?
Sorry, didn’t fully understand what you mean. You mean the volume is different or what?
Hi, thanks a lot for your great info! It helped me a lot to know Pianos better 😀
Honestly, I have no knowledge of Pianos, I’d like to get one for my husband’s birthday, he also knows nothing 🙂 but he recently expressed his interests in learning.
So for a beginner, I am wondering which of these three I should choose: Yamaha P-45, Casio CDP S-350, or Roland FP 10
I found their prices almost similar (P-45: $750; CDP S-350: $650; and FP 10: $760- Canadian dollar). So considering it for a total beginner, which one you recommend?
Thanks a lot!
Any of those will work just fine for a beginner. My personal favorite would be the FP-10. But the P-45 has also become quite a legend over the years and is extremely popular. The CDP-S350 is a relatively new model with a wide selection of sounds and a more complete feature set compared to the other two models.
I purchased the Yamaha P45 and am very satisfied with it. I generally practice with a headset on which really enhances the sound, however, when I play without the headset, the sound is not nearly as good. Would adding an external speaker enhance the sound quality and if so, what sort of speaker would be appropriate?
Great observations! Digital pianos will almost always sound better through headphones than via the onboard speakers (unless we’re talking high-end premium models). External amplification is definitely a solution to unimpressive sounding onboard speakers, but then it will depend on the quality of the external speaker(s) itself. We have a whole article dedicated to this, which you can read here.
Any recommendations on how to amplify this keyboard externally? Sounds great through headphones, but onboard speakers leave a bit to be desired. Thanks!
I’ve owned one for a couple of years and this is a very fair review. The headphone jack is my biggest annoyance, but I’m otherwise very happy with it.