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Portable acoustic piano?
Old 8th January 2020
  #1
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Portable acoustic piano?

We have started a series of recordings around a firepit called "SHmore Sessions" that is all acoustic (example below). Our resident keys player always gets left out for these. Is there any acoustic piano portable enough to move outside when needed that sounds decent? Thanks.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y3YLpTL4aSI
Old 9th January 2020
  #2
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Yamaha CP-70M electric grand are wonderful, if you can find one.
Old 9th January 2020
  #3
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A Cameo apartment sized spinet is as close to portable as it gets for a piano. It's the same key layout as a Whirlitzer, single strings in the bass, double strings everywhere else. If you've got a dolly, a station wagon and a load in with no stairs you can move it yourself.

They're great rock and roll pianos. The sound is very simple and clear without a lot of overtones. It can sit beautifully in a busy mix. I would never suggest tracking it as a solo instrument though.

Old 9th January 2020
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vernier View Post
Yamaha CP-70M electric grand are wonderful, if you can find one.
I used to have one of those as well. It was great but only slightly easier than moving a full sized acoustic piano.
Old 9th January 2020
  #5
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If it gives you any perspective, it's pretty common with classical folks these days to play chamber-music-type concerts with a rompler stuffed inside a fake plywood "harpsichord."

And check out the piano sound on this live broadcast -- do you think dragging the thing across town in a truck and into the studio was worth the trouble?

Old 9th January 2020
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by junkshop View Post
I used to have one of those as well. It was great but only slightly easier than moving a full sized acoustic piano.
I was mistaken anyway ..OP wants acoustic.

As for moving pianos though, we hauled a spinet around for years. CP-70M was a dream in comparison. And instantly sounds good, even for recording. Wish I still had it, lol.
Old 9th January 2020
  #7
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Maybe don't be so rigid about your "rules." Otherwise, maybe have the keyboardist play glockenspiel or another percussion element.
Old 9th January 2020
  #8
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Portable non electric keys, how about a melodica or harmonium?
Old 9th January 2020
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Old 9th January 2020
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soundebler's Avatar
The ships piano is designed for boat and is smaller and more compacter than normal piano , this not real portable but easier to take anywhere
Old 26th February 2020
  #11
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piano movers near me

Quote:
Originally Posted by junkshop View Post
A Cameo apartment sized spinet is as close to portable as it gets for a piano. It's the same key layout as a Whirlitzer, single strings in the bass, double strings everywhere else. If you've got a dolly, a station wagon and a load in with no stairs you can move it yourself. Piano movers near me company G&J Moving. They're great rock and roll pianos. The sound is very simple and clear without a lot of overtones. It can sit beautifully in a busy mix. I would never suggest tracking it as a solo instrument though.
convenient piano) Especially if you move)
Old 27th February 2020
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Indellable View Post
We have started a series of recordings around a firepit called "SHmore Sessions" that is all acoustic (example below). Our resident keys player always gets left out for these. Is there any acoustic piano portable enough to move outside when needed that sounds decent? Thanks.
"portability" is relative

how many guys do you have to help move? How strong are these guys? How enthusiastic about moving a piano are they? How big is your truck? The lightest "real" piano I ever saw was the LeSage, it had no sounding board. But it used a pickup. Without amplification, it was really quiet. And we still needed four of us to get it into the truck.

I knew a guy who kept an upright piano on wheels in the same locker that the hot dog cart went into at night. Each day they rolled it out - it had to be tuned after bumping down the street of course - and they used it for busking on the streets of Manhattan. That same guy tried sawing a piano into two sections, the keys and hammers in one part and the harp and soundboard in the other. Sadly, it never screwed back together accurately enough to be truly playable.


I myself have had some musical exercises/events where "acoustic only" was a rule.

In order that the keyboard players not feel "left out" I have offered the Schoenhut toy piano. Which is really a metallophone inside. Another all-acoustic solution for "left out" keyboard players is a Melodica.




Of course, neither one is really a "piano". The keyboardist who is into the power of his instrument playing two-fisted chords in a electric situation may have a hard time adjusting to a secondary, more 'decorative' role.


I think your keyboard player should just get himself an accordion. You can't get much more "campfire" than that. It's a keyboard. It can get loud. Sure, there's a learning curve, and all those black buttons, but then he could participate and also not have to rely on the kindness of others to move his instrument.
Old 27th February 2020
  #13
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What's that one Linus jams on ?
Old 27th February 2020
  #14
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You find out who are your true friends vs just acquaintances when asking for help moving your piano (bungalow upright). Moving to a second floor apartment separates them out even more. Didn't help that I had just transplanted to Orange County at the time. Still, a couple drove up from San Diego to help (late '80s). True friends.
Old 27th February 2020
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I would not suggest a CP-70. A friend has one and besides being really heavy and hard to set up/tear down, the sustain pedal mechanism is pretty finicky and needs to be on completely level ground. I would rather move a spinet piano out every night than deal with a CP-70. It’s also not all that loud acoustically, it’s going to get downed out by an acoustic guitar in a jam (It’s permanently set up in my friends living room because he just had his first kid and it’s quiet enough not to wake up the baby). Nothing against CP-70’s, really cool instruments and they are really fun. I just don’t think it’s a good choice for your situation.

The Cameo looks like a good suggestion. Another option to look for is a Marco Polo piano, which is very similar. I have one that is actually branded by Kawai, but I’m pretty sure it’s the same as the Marco Polo’s. It’s heavy, but two people can move it around.

Old 27th February 2020
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andersmv View Post
I would not suggest a CP-70. A friend has one and besides being really heavy and hard to set up/tear down, the sustain pedal mechanism is pretty finicky and needs to be on completely level ground. I would rather move a spinet piano out every night than deal with a CP-70. It’s also not all that loud acoustically, it’s going to get downed out by an acoustic guitar in a jam (It’s permanently set up in my friends living room because he just had his first kid and it’s quiet enough not to wake up the baby). Nothing against CP-70’s, really cool instruments and they are really fun. I just don’t think it’s a good choice for your situation.

The Cameo looks like a good suggestion. Another option to look for is a Marco Polo piano, which is very similar. I have one that is actually branded by Kawai, but I’m pretty sure it’s the same as the Marco Polo’s. It’s heavy, but two people can move it around.

That is very cool! It looks and sounds a lot like my Cameo. I might be a few inches taller but very close.
They're really fun little pianos. Mine has ended up on a ton of records. It records really well. Strangely, I think it sounds better recorded than it does in person.
Old 27th February 2020
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by junkshop View Post
That is very cool! It looks and sounds a lot like my Cameo. I might be a few inches taller but very close.
They're really fun little pianos. Mine has ended up on a ton of records. It records really well. Strangely, I think it sounds better recorded than it does in person.
The little Kawai has gotten used WAY more than the grand, haha. At this point I'm not really sure why I bought the grand, everyone just gets hooked on the little one. It does record really well though, but the guy I bought it from refurbishes pianos for a living and completely stripped it and redid it. It's probably the best playing/sounding Marco Polo in existence. I'm not sure why he was crazy enough to spend all the time and money to do it, but I'm very thankful he did!
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