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49/61 key weighted action keyboard for travel (Read 49975 times)

Offline peter_g_moll

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49/61 key weighted action keyboard for travel
« on: March 13, 2004, 07:44:59 PM »
I travel (fly) a lot for my work and need to take a keyboard with me for practise when I stay in hotels in African cities where there are no pianos.  I have a Yamaha P-80 which is about 60" x 13" x 5", which fits in a specially made case by FlyteCase in Canada.  The tactile impression is good (the best approximation to the grand action) and the sound, with headphones, is accurate and bearable, if not pleasurable.  The problem is that not all airlines allow a case this large or heavy, and it attracts undue attention from rent-seeking customs officials.  I'd like a 49- or 61-key (4-5 octave) weighted action keyboard which would weigh a lot less, take less space and permit me to fly anywhere.  At least I'd be able to play Bach that way, and practise scales. But on the market I find that the only weighted action keyboards are 88-key.  The 49- and 61-key keyboards are at best pressure-sensitive (viz. do gradations of volume) but are not action weighted and so the tactile impression is so far from the grand action that besides being unpleasant it would, I suspect, also waste time in that once back home I'd have to "unlearn" the motions acquired and "relearn" them on my acoustic piano.  I tried asking the Yamaha technicians if they knew of anyone with the same problem, and whether they would consider lopping some octaves off one of their instruments for me.  They wouldn't hear of it!  But surely someone out there must face the same problem.  Does anyone have a suggestion as to how I could continue my practise routine while traveling?
Peter Moll

Offline peter_g_moll

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Re: 49/61 key weighted action keyboard for travel
«Reply #1 on: June 04, 2004, 03:21:26 PM »
On another site someone suggested the Doepfer SK2000. It's 88 keys but because the case is built in, the total weight is 20 kgs and it's smaller than the case for a standard Yamaha P90 or whatever. See the discussion at:

http://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/ultimatebb.php?ubb=get_topic;f=18;t=010483

This is a partial solution. The Doepfer has specs:

20 kgs, 134.2 cm x 26.5 cm x 10.5 cm or:
44 lbs, 52.8 in x 10.4 in x 4.1 in.

Whereas my present setup, a Yamaha P80 with a custom-built case by FlyteCase, has:

16.4 + 13.1 = 29.5 kg, 139 cm x 33 cm x 16.5 cm or:
36 + 29 = 65lbs, 54.8 in x 13 in x 6.5 in.

The Doepfer has an advantage over the P90/P80 in that it has both a sustain and a soft pedal.  It has both MIDI out and a headphone jack. I wish I'd known of this (partial) solution earlier.

Peter Moll

Offline drooxy

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Re: 49/61 key weighted action keyboard for travel
«Reply #2 on: June 05, 2004, 01:05:36 PM »
Peter,

Remember me ?... You may have seen the answer to the question I posted about Nord Electro II that you suggested as an alternative to be thought of.

I also mailed Yamaha France and had just the following answer: "we do not do that !".

I cannot believe that we are only a few on this planet to love playing piano and having a job that requires mobility...

For me, no matter if the keyboard is small (not less that 49 keys though...). At worse, working one hand at a time with a good keyboard touch would still allow to make progress !

I am convainced there is a potential market for that kind of instrument... So is it a problem of technical feasability ? To that question , no answer from Yamaha either...

:-/

What can we do to make it happen ?

Cheers,
Drooxy
Drooxy

Offline peter_g_moll

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Re: 49/61 key weighted action keyboard for travel
«Reply #3 on: June 07, 2004, 03:24:13 PM »
Drooxy and others --

I too am convinced that there would be a market for a genuinely portable hammer-action keyboard.  I have written to all the major manufacturers -- some 13 in all -- but have had only negative answers.  I think their fear is that the market would not be large enough.

Hence my appeal for an engineer who would do a custom job.  I've put this on some other piano forums also in the hope that someone would come forward.

I also spoke with the repair shop associated with the Washington Music Center.  They refused categorically to get involved.  They said (i) reengineering would void the warranty on the original instrument, and when I said I didn't care, I'd still pay. they said (ii) it's too complicated and risky.

So we're waiting for an engineer with a desire to innovate and have an interesting time producing a new instrument.  Any takers?

Regards,


Peter
Peter Moll

Offline edouard

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Re: 49/61 key weighted action keyboard for travel
«Reply #4 on: June 07, 2004, 07:33:06 PM »
i totally agree with everything and need something very similar.!! :)
edouard.

ps: i asked about in France where i used to live but no one had a clue

Offline peter_g_moll

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Re: 49/61 key weighted action keyboard for travel
«Reply #5 on: June 08, 2004, 03:44:52 PM »
Drooxy and others --

I think we need to start looking more broadly.  There must be technically minded people out there who'd like a new challenge.  It's a matter of locating them.

So initially I have posted my eternal question at the Piano Technicians' Guild --

http://www.ptg.org/experts.htm

and understand that the question has been "posted" to a board of piano technician experts.  Why don't you try looking also?

Regards,

Peter
Peter Moll

Offline drooxy

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Re: 49/61 key weighted action keyboard for travel
«Reply #6 on: June 08, 2004, 08:38:50 PM »
Hi everyone,

I left a message on the site you mention, Peter... Of course I will let you know if I get an answer !

Thanks !

Drooxy
Drooxy

Offline peter_g_moll

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hRe: 49/61 key weighted action keyboard for travel
«Reply #7 on: June 09, 2004, 04:18:13 PM »
I've made a a direct request of  Doepfer to see if they could cut their SK2000 down from 88 to 61 or 49 keys.  See the post: http://www.doepfer.de/home_e.htm

I've also sent requests, by email, to:

(1)     Better Sound Electronics (http://www.icon.co.za/~bse1sa/bse1.htm) in Durban (South Africa)

(2)     American Music (http://www.americanmusic.com/rentals/repairs.htm) in Seattle

(3)     Advanced Musical Electronics (http://www.advancedmusical.com/) in Los Angeles

(4)     Audio Electronics (http://www.audioelectronics.com/contact.htm) in Dallas, Texas

(5)     CAE Sound (http://www.caesound.com/) in San Mateo, California

(6)     Pacific Innovative Electronics (http://home.earthlink.net/~pacinn/) in Burbank, California

(7)     Wizard Electronics (http://www.wizardelectronics.com/) in Atlanta, Georgia.

Let's see what this turns up.

Regards,


Peter
Peter Moll

Offline drooxy

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Re: 49/61 key weighted action keyboard for travel
«Reply #8 on: June 29, 2004, 03:15:45 PM »
Hi Peter (and others !),

Did you receive some answers yet ?

Drooxy



Drooxy

Offline peter_g_moll

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Re: 49/61 key weighted action keyboard for travel
«Reply #9 on: July 01, 2004, 03:20:51 PM »
I received responses from Better Sound Electronics in Durban (South Africa), and from Audio Electronics in Dallas, Texas.  I decided to go initially with Audio Electronics, because they are closer by, and have sent them a downpayment to do the initial research.  They believe it will be possible to cut down a Yamaha P80 to whatever size -- 49 or 61 keys -- and at a reasonable price.  So I think in a few weeks they'll come back with a clearer indication of what is feasible and what is not.

Peter Moll

Offline peter_g_moll

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Re: 49/61 key weighted action keyboard for travel
«Reply #10 on: August 10, 2004, 08:12:50 PM »
Audio Electronics have done their initial research.  They conclude that indeed they can produce a short-scale keyboard using the Yamaha P80 to start with.  It will be 53 keys, C - e''', not 49, so as to accommodate the size of the control panel.  In all other respects it will have the same look and feel as the Yamaha P80.  I'll announce when it arrives in a few weeks.

Regards,

Peter Moll
Peter Moll

Offline rubato

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Re: 49/61 key weighted action keyboard for travel
«Reply #11 on: August 24, 2004, 08:20:48 PM »
I read with great interest the conversation about a piano keyboard for travel.  I travel also and have run in to the same problem: I need to be able to practice, but it isn't practical to travel by air with the weighted action keyboards available.  I have searched all over and there just isn't anything available on the market.

I found a partial solution by compromising on the weighted action and buying a 4-octave keyboard controller.  I got a Roland keyboard controller, and a box that generates the piano sound and use earphones.  The keyboard controller is small enough to carry on to the plane and the box packs in my carry on bag.  That way the whole shebang can be carried on the plane without checking luggage.

I set the keyboard on a ironing board that usually comes with the hotel room (or can be provided by housekeeping)  It is adjustable, so I can get it the same height as my Steinway grand at home.   I'm sure the hotel maid has a laugh when she sees what's being done with the ironing board.

It is not great, but I do a lot of practicing on it hands separately.  One thing that is nice is that the controller allows you change the octaves so you can practice on the upper four octaves of the piano range or the lower four octaves.

I'll be interested to hear how the 53-keyed modified Yamaha P80 works out.  I'd like to get one made too, because the weighted action is much better for practicing.  One thing, though -- I play mostly on Steinway grands and none of the weighted action electric keyboards are heavy enough for me.  They are much too light.  If anyone has found a heavy action on a weighted action electronic keybaord, I'd like to know about it.



Offline drooxy

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Re: 49/61 key weighted action keyboard for travel
«Reply #12 on: August 30, 2004, 02:02:34 PM »
Peter,

Thanks for the information...

Please, let us know when you have something new about that "mini" P80 !

Cheers,
Pascal
Drooxy

Offline peter_g_moll

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Re: 49/61 key weighted action keyboard for travel
«Reply #13 on: November 29, 2004, 06:55:40 PM »
My 53-key short-scale Yamaha P-80 weighted-action keyboard arrived last week, in perfect condition.  It looks and feels like the Yamaha P-80, just that it is shorter.  The length was shortened from 53 inches to 33 1/2 inches.  The range is now C (2 octaves below middle C) to e''' (two octaves and a third above middle C).  All the controls work exactly as in the original instrument.  I'm able to play all my Bach and Handel pieces, many of my Mozart and Haydn pieces, and even Faure's Prelude 8 op. 103.  It "feels" a lot lighter and more manipulable: it is now about 23 1/2 pounds, down from the previous 37 pounds.  I wonder if this is worth an entry in the Guinness Book of Records?

I'm very grateful to Myk Goldey of Allied Electronics in Dallas, who managed the whole process.   The contacts of the firm are 1-800-466-2372 or 214-349-5000, 10870 Plano Road, Suite C, Dallas TX 75243, and the web site is www.audioelectronics.com.

Next is to get a suitable flight case and then I'll be set.

Best wishes,

Peter
Peter Moll

Offline bernhard

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Re: 49/61 key weighted action keyboard for travel
«Reply #14 on: November 29, 2004, 07:18:05 PM »
This is a most interesting piece of news, thank you for letting us know.

Shame these guys are in Texas, though (do they have a branch in the UK? ;))

On the other hand it means that it can be done!

Best wishes,
Bernhard
The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side. (Hunter Thompson)

Offline bernhard

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Re: 49/61 key weighted action keyboard for travel
«Reply #15 on: November 29, 2004, 07:20:51 PM »
By the way, how prohibitive was the cost?
The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side. (Hunter Thompson)

Offline peter_g_moll

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Re: 49/61 key weighted action keyboard for travel
«Reply #16 on: December 01, 2004, 01:24:11 PM »
This is a most interesting piece of news, thank you for letting us know.

Shame these guys are in Texas, though (do they have a branch in the UK? ;))

On the other hand it means that it can be done!

Best wishes,
Bernhard

Dear Bernhard,

No, Allied Electronics doesn't have international branches to my knowledge.  But the point is that if just one firm can do this with a Yamaha P-80, then any reasonably competent repair shop can do it for any keyboard.  On the other hand, I'd guess that Allied Electronics Dallas would be willing to ship anywhere in the world.

And, yes, it wasn't exactly cheap.  But worth it!

Regards,


Peter
Peter Moll

Offline Brian Healey

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Re: 49/61 key weighted action keyboard for travel
«Reply #17 on: December 01, 2004, 05:41:51 PM »
Are you willing to throw out a number for the cost? This subject has really piqued my interest. I also have a Yamaha P-80, and after hearing your story I'm considering having the shortening done myself. Of course, I would then have to buy another keyboard for those times when I need a portable keyboard with all 88 keys, so the cost of the conversion would directly influence my decision.

What a great idea, too. I too have been on the look-out for a smaller instrument like that, but I never thought about having one custom-made.

Offline drooxy

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Re: 49/61 key weighted action keyboard for travel
«Reply #18 on: December 01, 2004, 07:03:53 PM »
Hi !

I am definitely very interested too...  but I live in France which is not going to make things easy I guess...

Cheers,
Drooxy
Drooxy

Offline peter_g_moll

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Re: 49/61 key weighted action keyboard for travel
«Reply #19 on: December 03, 2004, 06:59:27 PM »
You can see two pictures of my 53-note instrument at

http://www.pianoworld.com/ubb/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?/topic/6/423.html

Regards,


Peter
Peter Moll

Offline bernhard

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Re: 49/61 key weighted action keyboard for travel
«Reply #20 on: December 03, 2004, 09:38:42 PM »
This is quite an impressive job they have done!
The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side. (Hunter Thompson)

Offline Brian Healey

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Re: 49/61 key weighted action keyboard for travel
«Reply #21 on: December 04, 2004, 03:55:48 AM »
I mentioned this to Peter already, but that little p-80, beyond being a great portable practice instrument, would also make a nice portable midi controller.

Offline drooxy

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Re: 49/61 key weighted action keyboard for travel
«Reply #22 on: May 02, 2005, 10:39:02 AM »
Hi everyone,

Just a quick word to let you know that I received my "Yamaha P53" last week (initially, a Yamaha P80 cut down to 53 keys).

It is 85 cms long and weights less than 12 kgs (I let you convert !!!)... That makes the keyboard really portable and very pleasant to play thanks to the original weighted action of the P80.

As Peter already mentionned, the company that realizes that modification is AudioElectronics in Dallas:

http://www.audioelectronics.com

They are doing a very good job and are also very nice people to make business with.

If you want to have more information, you can contact:

Susanna Baker
Customer Service Manager
Audio Electronics Dallas
1-800-466-2372

aed@audioelectronics.com

Just for your information.

All the best.
Drooxy

Drooxy

Offline CJ Quinn

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Re: 49/61 key weighted action keyboard for travel
«Reply #23 on: May 02, 2005, 12:56:01 PM »

Very interesting, can someone give a clue about the cost?  A pianist friend of mine was very excited by the prospect of a smaller P-80 for travel.
Christopher James Quinn
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Piano: August Förster 190

mp3s: www.media.cjquinn.com

My Miraculous Brooklyn Piano Teacher:  http://www.racheljimenez.com

Offline andyswish32

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Re: 49/61 key weighted action keyboard for travel
«Reply #24 on: May 19, 2014, 11:53:34 PM »
If this topic still interests anyone here, there is an 88-key portable piano that separates into three-pieces to fit in carry-on luggage currently being developed. $1,500 price range. Here are the main features:

88-key Graded Hammer Action Keyboard
Built-in speakers and high quality instrument sounds
Strong and lightweight carbon fiber casing
Rechargeable battery with up to 7 hours of play time.
4” color touch screen
3 pedal inputs, Audio line out, Headphone jack in the front
MIDI in/out, Wireless MIDI, USB
Music stand with a built-in LED light so you see it in the dark (great for orchestra pits and dark clubs)

Not for sale yet, but if you go to www.groovepiano.com, you can enter your email to stay up to date on its progress. Also Facebook and Twitter icons at the bottom of that webpage.

Offline hfmadopter

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Re: 49/61 key weighted action keyboard for travel
«Reply #25 on: May 20, 2014, 08:43:30 AM »
I doubt the thread is alive.

I understand your point though, however I find these limited sized keyboards to be too limiting. They work fine as synth background etc but for me the size alone is too limited for actual piano work. My playing takes up too much keyboard real estate. If you just want to do the scales it may be fine. Have you thought of shipping your keyboard ahead of time ? It would be there when you arrive. I know a guy who does this with rifles ( hey, he's a hunter not a pianist, don't shoot the messenger).

On another note, the Korg Krome has semi weighted keys. I've played the 88 but not the 5
61 and it was acceptable. The sound was fantastic. Price point right now is $999 US for the 61.
Depressing the pedal on an out of tune acoustic piano and playing does not result in tonal color control or add interest, it's called obnoxious.