Hello all -
I'm the resident piano/organ/synth guy for a smallish indie rock band signed to an equally small indie label. The time has come for another tour and this time I'm dead set on taking along an actual acoustic piano. Until now we've toured with my Nord Electro 2 which has gotten the job done, but now I want something that is as expressive as our recordings, in which I used both uprights and baby grands.
The problem is, of course, finding the right piano to take on tour. So I submit to you, Piano World Forums, this question: what is the smallest, lightest piano you have encountered? Of course I don't mean toy pianos or any other novelty items. I'm talking actual pianos that, for one reason or another, were built small and light.
I've done a bit of research so far but information has proven hard to come by. I've been particularly interested in pianos that were built with fewer than 88 keys. Since this piano is being used primarily in a rock context (as opposed to classical or other genres that use the majority of the keyboard) I don't really have much use for the top and/or bottom octaves. What I've found follows:
1. The Eavestaff Pianette - Also known as the Minipiano, I saw a few pictures of one on eBay once and I believe this thing has fewer than 88 keys. Apart from this site
I haven't been able to find much about it, but it seems like it might be one of the smaller/lighter models out there.
2. Certain Aeolian models - One of my favorite bands around today and one of my biggest influences in playing style is The Walkmen. When they re-recorded Harry Nilsson's classic "Pussy Cats" they gave a lengthy interview to Sound on Sound regarding their process. It can be found here
. Here's the relevant quote:
Another big part of the sound of Pussy Cats Starring The Walkmen is the studio's Aeolian, the latest in a rather long line of beat-up pianos. "We keep on buying five-octave pianos because they're actually small enough to take on tour. Three people can carry them, but they're so heavy to treat carefully and they get beat up."
I haven't been able to find any more information on what model of Aeolian they might be referring to, since it appears that Aeolian primarily manufactured player pianos and that's all that ever comes up in eBay and Google searches. If anyone knows what model they are referring to, or where I might be able to purchase one, please let me know. This piano sounds absolutely perfect for my needs.
3. Traincar pianos - An employee in a music store once told me that he had heard of pianos that used to be made small enough to fit inside the sleeper cars of trains. He speculated that perhaps they were made with less than 88 keys, but I haven't been able to find anything else out about these "traincar pianos."
Any information you guys have on this topic would be greatly appreciated. For what it's worth, I'm not looking for any kind of piano emulator, virtual instrument, or sampling solution. I've been down all those roads, and none are as expressive as I need them to be. I am totally okay with vintage, old, antique, beat-up, pianos. I understand that touring/gigging with an acoustic piano is difficult, and that most bands today use keyboard emulators, but I'm not satisfied with that approach any longer.
Thanks in advance!