Born on July 24, 1938, in the Bronx, New York, Mike Mainieri started to learn vibraphone from the age of 12 and made his professional debut at the age of 14. After performing as a member of the Buddy Rich Band, he served as a pioneer in the New York style fusion movement as a band leader of legendary groups, including White Elephant, L'Image, STEPS and STEPS AHEAD together with Steve Gadd, Michael Brecker and other artists in 1970s. Thereafter, he recorded with renowned musicians, including Paul Simon and Billy Joel, while continuously providing significant impact on the music scene through such initiatives as handling the arrangement of the 60-member Symphony Orchestra for rock band Aerosmith.
In 1994, as Mike Mainieri was sensing the limit of the expressive capability of the vibraphone as a musical instrument, the relationship with Yamaha and Mainieri began. Mainieri contacted Yamaha via a New York-based vibraphonist Dave Samuels to find out if Yamaha was capable of producing a custom-made vibraphone. Hiroaki Ohmuro, a great fan of jazz and also Yamaha's designer at that time, combined the opinions of Mainieri and Samuels to customize a vibraphone. Mainieri was extremely delighted with the result and commented, ""The sound it creates is sophisticated, like the piano."" The reputation of the resulting 3 1/2Oct vibraphone spread via word of mouth and became a hot topic among jazz circles. The instrument was generally marketed thereafter as the YV3910 model and is currently well established as the next-generation vibraphone.