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#1931079 - 07/23/12 03:56 AM Avant Grand N1: How transportable?
Aidan Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/23/08
Posts: 371
Loc: UK
I really need to get a better action on which to practice than my Nord. I don't have room for a grand - indeed, I recently had to sell the Kirkman grand I learned to play on as it was stored at my dad's and he's downsizing.

My father-in-law has very kindly offered me his upright as a gift. This is a very nice instrument, a W Hoffman (built by Bechstein in the Czech republic) and only about 15 years old. I'm sure it would make a very acceptable practice instrument.

However, another thought has struck me...

I work mostly as a solo pianist for weddings and although the Nord is quite acceptable for many clients, others ask about hiring a grand or at least something that looks more piano-like. However, when they learn how much a grand costs to hire, they usually shy away from that option.

Therefore, I wondered whether to get an Avant Grand N1 and offer it as a hireable option, for some money but significantly less than an acoustic. Thus I would get a very nice practice instrument and the chance to eventually recoup the investment via revenue.

What I need to know is how easy is it to break down into transportable pieces? I have a Citroen Berlingo van which I'm guessing (need to check exact dimensions) would be able to move the N1 with no problems. I'm also aware that it would be a two person carry, so I would need to pay someone to come with me on these jobs, which of course would have to be factored into the costs. Also would need plenty of blankets and old duvets in the back to protect the instrument. I have webbing and securing rings fitted in the van.

Is this a nuts idea or am I on to something?
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#1931086 - 07/23/12 04:05 AM Re: Avant Grand N1: How transportable? [Re: Aidan]
spanishbuddha Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/08/09
Posts: 2235
Loc: UK
Personally I don't find the N1 design to be visually appealing, except from the players position. Suitable for a funeral perhaps, but not a wedding.

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#1931119 - 07/23/12 06:10 AM Re: Avant Grand N1: How transportable? [Re: Aidan]
Aidan Offline
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Registered: 01/23/08
Posts: 371
Loc: UK
Yeah, that is certainly is a consideration. It would help if you could get it in white!
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#1931132 - 07/23/12 06:58 AM Re: Avant Grand N1: How transportable? [Re: Aidan]
EssBrace Offline
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Registered: 12/01/09
Posts: 2328
Loc: Suffolk, United Kingdom
I know it's not a shapely thing but I like the way the N1 looks.
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#1931175 - 07/23/12 09:30 AM Re: Avant Grand N1: How transportable? [Re: Aidan]
Karnevil Offline
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Registered: 06/17/06
Posts: 154
Forget about N1 as a portable piano for gigs, end of story.

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#1931184 - 07/23/12 09:51 AM Re: Avant Grand N1: How transportable? [Re: Aidan]
bfb Offline
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Registered: 05/25/11
Posts: 531
Loc: Atlanta GA USA
do you think you could get it done with a portfolio DP - like the Yamaha P95 or the Casio Privia 130/330 - with their optional wooden frames/stands? would look better than a metal X or Z stand and probably assembles/disassembles pretty easily.

would seem a lot easier than lugging around a home piano... but you obviously would give up some sound quality- although you could run a sample program such as ivory 2 or vintage D off an ultrabook and you'd have a great sounding, portable rig.

just a thought to save your back wear and tear...
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#1931186 - 07/23/12 09:53 AM Re: Avant Grand N1: How transportable? [Re: Karnevil]
toddy Online   content
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Registered: 09/30/11
Posts: 1320
Loc: Portugal
Originally Posted By: Karnevil
Forget about N1 as a portable piano for gigs, end of story.


Why?
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#1931195 - 07/23/12 10:12 AM Re: Avant Grand N1: How transportable? [Re: toddy]
36251 Online   content
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Registered: 11/12/10
Posts: 646
I'd say it's just a transportable as a B-3. You buy a van, ramp, and same dolly set up.

(and a hernia truss)


Edited by 36251 (07/23/12 10:13 AM)
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#1931202 - 07/23/12 10:17 AM Re: Avant Grand N1: How transportable? [Re: Aidan]
Karnevil Offline
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Registered: 06/17/06
Posts: 154
Yes, the B3 comparison is very good. But why would you go for a very impractical and expensive solution, considering you're still playing a flawed digital instrument? Anyway, it's up to you... smile

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#1931206 - 07/23/12 10:20 AM Re: Avant Grand N1: How transportable? [Re: Karnevil]
ando Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/10
Posts: 3337
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
Originally Posted By: Karnevil
Forget about N1 as a portable piano for gigs, end of story.


I don't think it's as cut and dried as that. Some events and parties are highbrow enough that they will pay for the privilege of having a more classy instrument on display. Whilst the N1 doesn't look like a real grand, it does have a nice polished cabinet that befits a classy event. Setting up a slab piano on a folding stand won't cut it at some events. I think the AG could be a viable idea if you can get somebody to help you move it. I doubt that it's that difficult. I reckon I could move an N1 around on my own with the right combination of ramps, blankets and a trolley. I would charge accordingly for the service. I'm a big guy though.

The only concern with the N1 is is it loud enough on its own? Would you need to add some extra amplification. I don't know because I've never played an N1.

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#1931264 - 07/23/12 12:28 PM Re: Avant Grand N1: How transportable? [Re: Aidan]
Karnevil Offline
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Registered: 06/17/06
Posts: 154
I don't think your argument holds water, as such events would typically be at places were a piano or grand piano are available. How long do you think the N1 would continue to look "nice and polished" if you shipped it around at events like this for a while (never mind the impracticality of doing it by yourself).

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#1931265 - 07/23/12 12:29 PM Re: Avant Grand N1: How transportable? [Re: ando]
Aidan Offline
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Registered: 01/23/08
Posts: 371
Loc: UK
Originally Posted By: ando
Originally Posted By: Karnevil
Forget about N1 as a portable piano for gigs, end of story.


I don't think it's as cut and dried as that. Some events and parties are highbrow enough that they will pay for the privilege of having a more classy instrument on display. Whilst the N1 doesn't look like a real grand, it does have a nice polished cabinet that befits a classy event. Setting up a slab piano on a folding stand won't cut it at some events.


This, basically. I've also considered a grand piano shell but then there's the question of storage, and whether it would look as good anyway, especially with a red Nord nestling inside!
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#1931267 - 07/23/12 12:33 PM Re: Avant Grand N1: How transportable? [Re: Karnevil]
Aidan Offline
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Registered: 01/23/08
Posts: 371
Loc: UK
Originally Posted By: Karnevil
I don't think your argument holds water, as such events would typically be at places were a piano or grand piano are available. How long do you think the N1 would continue to look "nice and polished" if you shipped it around at events like this for a while (never mind the impracticality of doing it by yourself).


You'd be surprised, actually. Very few places I work at have their own grands (or in the right room). I'm under no illusions that this is anything other than a two-man job, as I mentioned in my initial posting.

As for continuing to look "nice and polished", grand piano hire companies move theirs around all the time with little problem and if one took the same precautions as they do (strapped down with furniture mover's webbing, plenty of blankets and old duvets), I don't see that particularly as an issue.
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#1931293 - 07/23/12 01:15 PM Re: Avant Grand N1: How transportable? [Re: Aidan]
Dave Ferris Offline
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#1931310 - 07/23/12 01:51 PM Re: Avant Grand N1: How transportable? [Re: Aidan]
PianoWorksATL Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/19/09
Posts: 2634
Loc: Atlanta, GA
I'd have concerns about this idea. Practically speaking, while better looking than a slab and stand, it will fail to impress casual observers the way a grand does. If it doesn't impress, few clients will pay the extra.

Do what the caterer and DJ learned to do. Put a skirt around the table...or in this case, the keyboard stand. You could even make a small shell that comes up loosely around the Nord and makes the red less visible. This is practical, viable, and will keep your home piano from the hazards of the road.

Good luck for whichever you choose for your home.
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#1931602 - 07/23/12 11:48 PM Re: Avant Grand N1: How transportable? [Re: Aidan]
ChrisA Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/28/08
Posts: 3841
Loc: Redondo Beach, California
Originally Posted By: Aidan

However, another thought has struck me...

I work mostly as a solo pianist for weddings and although the Nord is quite acceptable for many clients, others ask about hiring a grand or at least something that looks more piano-like. However, when they learn how much a grand costs to hire, they usually shy away from that option.

Therefore, I wondered whether to get an Avant Grand N1 and offer it as a hireable option, for some money but significantly less than an acoustic. Thus I would get a very nice practice instrument and the chance to eventually recoup the investment via revenue.



You can buy, or build a stage prop called a "piano shell". They are more common then you think. Basically it is a keyboard stand that looks like and acoustic piano.

There are a lot of companies that make these props. Some look good even close up others need to be 50 to 100 feet from an audience. Here are two that I found after a few minutes with Google. The search term is "piano shell"
http://www.grandillusionpianoshells.com/

http://stanfordcustompianoshells.com/

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#1931736 - 07/24/12 08:54 AM Re: Avant Grand N1: How transportable? [Re: ChrisA]
bfb Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/11
Posts: 531
Loc: Atlanta GA USA
Originally Posted By: ChrisA
Originally Posted By: Aidan

However, another thought has struck me...

I work mostly as a solo pianist for weddings and although the Nord is quite acceptable for many clients, others ask about hiring a grand or at least something that looks more piano-like. However, when they learn how much a grand costs to hire, they usually shy away from that option.

Therefore, I wondered whether to get an Avant Grand N1 and offer it as a hireable option, for some money but significantly less than an acoustic. Thus I would get a very nice practice instrument and the chance to eventually recoup the investment via revenue.



You can buy, or build a stage prop called a "piano shell". They are more common then you think. Basically it is a keyboard stand that looks like and acoustic piano.

There are a lot of companies that make these props. Some look good even close up others need to be 50 to 100 feet from an audience. Here are two that I found after a few minutes with Google. The search term is "piano shell"
http://www.grandillusionpianoshells.com/

http://stanfordcustompianoshells.com/


very interesting and very expensive- looks like a couple grand?.

Aidan for the moment can at least make the client decide to "pay" for the upgrade, and if the client says no- he hasn't incurred a cost, unless he loses the gig because of it (doubtful?).... If Aidan buys this shell- he is going to have to figure out how it pays for itself... making it an option for the client doesn't change the fact he had to buy it.. so he might as well work it into his fee structure?

also looks like a LOT of additional work. i would wear your gym clothes to set up before donning your tux..

PS: on the second site- the Micro shell- you think they photoshop'd the woman standing on the piano. hard to fathom it being that sturdy.
i guess it could be a very good investment for the long term...


Edited by bfb (07/24/12 09:00 AM)
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#1931769 - 07/24/12 10:40 AM Re: Avant Grand N1: How transportable? [Re: bfb]
Aidan Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/23/08
Posts: 371
Loc: UK
To be honest, I can't quite make up my mind whether the shells look good or just cheesy - I'm leaning towards the latter.

As has been observed, the financial justification paths diverge here. If I bought the N1, I'd have a nice piano for practice and the home which I might eventually at least make a few bucks back on, thanks to the hire. If the hire thing doesn't take off, I still have a nice home piano with a grand action.

The shell has no intrinsic value of its own and if it flops as an idea, I'm out a couple of thousand bucks. It would also present challenges for storage as we have a pretty small house and little or no space.

I think first off, I need to see an N1 in the flesh and play the damn thing. I'll report back once I've done so!
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#1932633 - 07/26/12 10:49 AM Re: Avant Grand N1: How transportable? [Re: Aidan]
Aidan Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/23/08
Posts: 371
Loc: UK
Well, after some heart-searching, I phoned the piano mover yesterday and arranged for the W Hoffmann to come over here. I'm abandoning the N1 idea.

There were a number of reasons behind the decision. Like some here, I didn't manage to utterly convince myself that there was much of a hire market for such an instrument, plus even having a third party moving it in and out of the house would be a PITA and be a potentially routine disturbance to home life.

Secondly, the idea of fronting up over 5k in the current economic climate was not very appealing. I have money in the bank for it, but it's probably best left there at the moment.

Lastly, I'd still only be getting a DP (albeit a very nice one) which will be overtaken by technological advances in a few years. Whereas the W Hoffmann will always be what it is - a very nice upright and perfectly good practice instrument.
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#1932656 - 07/26/12 11:35 AM Re: Avant Grand N1: How transportable? [Re: Aidan]
bfb Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/11
Posts: 531
Loc: Atlanta GA USA
i still think a black yamaha or privia with its own optional wooden laminate stand- midi-controlling Ivory 2 or vintage D from an ultrabook would give the audience something unobtrusive to look at (providing you can minimize and hide the *^$% cables and work the monitors/speakers positions to look "clean")and a very pleasant piano to listen to. The Red Stage 2 on a metal stand - while a much better quality keyboard - well, i can see how its looks out of place as a solo instrument at a wedding or piano-tinkling reception.

the new privia lineup might be good enough sounding on its own to skip the ultrabook/sample program idea...

just something to keep you thinking..good luck!


Edited by bfb (07/26/12 11:36 AM)
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#1932676 - 07/26/12 11:56 AM Re: Avant Grand N1: How transportable? [Re: Aidan]
anotherscott Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/10
Posts: 3076
I also might look at the Crumar

http://www.crumar.it/?a=showproduct&b=3

Reasonably elegant look for hires, not too hard to cart around, and VST quality piano sound.

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#1932798 - 07/26/12 05:00 PM Re: Avant Grand N1: How transportable? [Re: anotherscott]
doremi Offline
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#1932858 - 07/26/12 08:04 PM Re: Avant Grand N1: How transportable? [Re: doremi]
ando Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/10
Posts: 3337
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
Originally Posted By: doremi
The Crumar is sooo cute, put a tall Beethoven bust on the protruding curve on the left, and you are all set, at least for looks. May even be your signature appearance to market your brand.


Pity you then have to ugly it up by assembling a computer and cables around it...

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#1932860 - 07/26/12 08:08 PM Re: Avant Grand N1: How transportable? [Re: ando]
anotherscott Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/10
Posts: 3076
Originally Posted By: ando


Pity you then have to ugly it up by assembling a computer and cables around it...


No, the computer is built into it. Just run power cable, and audio cable to your amp (no built in speakers).

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#1932876 - 07/26/12 09:16 PM Re: Avant Grand N1: How transportable? [Re: anotherscott]
ando Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/10
Posts: 3337
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
Originally Posted By: anotherscott
Originally Posted By: ando


Pity you then have to ugly it up by assembling a computer and cables around it...


No, the computer is built into it. Just run power cable, and audio cable to your amp (no built in speakers).


Oh, right. That's a good feature. I take it you still need a monitor though?

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#1932918 - 07/27/12 12:14 AM Re: Avant Grand N1: How transportable? [Re: ando]
Aidan Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/23/08
Posts: 371
Loc: UK
Sorry, but for me personally, the Crumar looks like a toy. Maybe it looks better in the flesh - difficult to tell.

I'm most probably going to go for the "DP on dedicated stand" idea mooted earlier in this thread, most probably either the Kawai ES7 or Casio PX350. And in white, since that's all a lot of brides seem to care about.

I have a small Electrovoice ZXA1 powered speaker I can use in conjunction with the internal speakers to get a good, room-filling sound.

I like the light weight of the Casio but the name does have some negative connotations which could put some people off. I think the last line from Casio had the Privia branding on the back panel, but the newcomers appear to have Casio in big lettering - don't know if Mike Martin can comment on that?

The Kawai looks nice, and certainly the stand and overall visual impression is more impressive, but the weight of 22kg is a little bit intimidating.
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#1932923 - 07/27/12 01:02 AM Re: Avant Grand N1: How transportable? [Re: ando]
anotherscott Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/10
Posts: 3076
Originally Posted By: ando
. I take it you still need a monitor though?

I believe you would need a monitor to set up certain parameters, but would not need to gig with it.

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#1932926 - 07/27/12 01:06 AM Re: Avant Grand N1: How transportable? [Re: Aidan]
ando Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/10
Posts: 3337
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
Originally Posted By: Aidan

The Kawai looks nice, and certainly the stand and overall visual impression is more impressive, but the weight of 22kg is a little bit intimidating.


Oh come on, you were contemplating moving an N1 around a minute ago. 22kg is no big deal. Geez a lot of people around here are delicate flowers. Everybody wants a first rate piano that weighs 10kg! I used to carry a guitar rig up flights of stair that weighed 45kg! Quality weighs something.

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#1932928 - 07/27/12 01:12 AM Re: Avant Grand N1: How transportable? [Re: Aidan]
Kawai James Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/06/07
Posts: 8388
Loc: Hamamatsu, Japan
ES7, in white, in a wedding chapel?



Bingo!

I'm inclined to agree with you though - 22kg is perhaps a little on the heavy side, especially compared to Nord or Casio. I would absolutely love Kawai to develop an ultra-lightweight instrument, however action authenticity and built-quality will always take priority.

Cheers,
James
x
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#1932972 - 07/27/12 03:46 AM Re: Avant Grand N1: How transportable? [Re: Aidan]
Aidan Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/23/08
Posts: 371
Loc: UK
James do you know how easily the piano comes off that stand? Does it just lift off or are there things to unscrew etc?
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