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#692966 - 05/17/04 10:13 AM Want an engineer to make a 49-key weighted action digital keyboard
Peter_G_Moll Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/17/04
Posts: 30
Loc: Arlington, VA
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 P80 weighs 16.4 kg (about 40 pounds); with the case it's 27 kg. 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, it attracts undue attention from rent-seeking customs officials, and doesn't fit into the average taxi.

So I'd like a 49- or 61-key (4-5 octave) weighted action keyboard which would weigh 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 or velocity-sensitive (viz. do gradations of volume) but, even when they claim to be “semi-weighted” or “synth action”, do not have a hammer action at all. 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 have written to all the big manufacturers (Baldwin, Bohemia, Casio, Clavia, FATAR, Generalmusic (GEM), Korg, Kawai, Kurzweil, Samick, Suzuki, Roland, Technics, Viscount and WERSI) and spoken with some, but have had only negative responses.
It is clear that there are many people out there with the same problem – see the following indications on this and other sites:

http://www.pianoworld.com/ubb/ubb/ultimatebb.php?/topic/6/226.html#000004

http://www.pianoworld.com/ubb/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?/topic/1/4221.html

http://www.pianoforum.net/cgi-bin/yabb/YaBB.cgi?board=inst;action=display;num=1084276337

http://www.pianoforum.net/cgi-bin/yabb/YaBB.cgi?board=inst;action=displa y;num=1079199900;start=0

http://www.pianoforum.net/cgi-bin/yabb/YaBB.cgi?board=inst;action=displa y;num=1060003862;start=0

http://www.pianoforum.net/cgi-bin/yabb/YaBB.cgi?board=inst;action=display;num=1080218682

So I'm now searching for an engineer who would be interested in taking apart an instrument with weighted action (e.g. Yamaha P80) and converting it into a 49-key instrument. This might entail using one of the 49-key synths on the market (e.g. Fatar's) and installing Yamaha's keys. Obviously the warranties would be voided but that's not a problem to me. Or maybe there's an engineer out there who has another innovative solution? Or can anyone suggest to me the name of an engineer who might be interested in trying this?
_________________________
Peter G. Moll

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#692967 - 05/17/04 02:58 PM Re: Want an engineer to make a 49-key weighted action digital keyboard
gryphon Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/09/01
Posts: 11678
Loc: Okemos, MI
There is a need for this, although 49 keys is pretty small. Have you taken apart your P80 and looked inside? I'm curious, myself.
_________________________
"If we lose freedom here, there's no place to escape to."
MSU - the university of Michigan!
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#692968 - 05/18/04 12:34 AM Re: Want an engineer to make a 49-key weighted action digital keyboard
katie_dup1 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/27/03
Posts: 1838
Loc: Canada
Yup ..... i've mentioned this on this forum too ..... What I'd really like is a fold up (like a book) 88 key weighed portable keyboard for travelling, but a slightly smaller keyboard would do too. Why can't someone just invent this?

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#692969 - 05/18/04 11:59 AM Re: Want an engineer to make a 49-key weighted action digital keyboard
gryphon Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/09/01
Posts: 11678
Loc: Okemos, MI
Peter, to address your comments about my "Travel piano" thread in the PF, I couldn't find anything small enough, so what I ended up doing is purchasing a P90. It's pretty big as you know so instead of flying to St. Louis (where I have to spend a month this summer) I am going to drive so I can take the piano. I know this doesn't do you any good since you can't drive to Africa. \:\) Your idea of modifying a P80 is intriguing. As I asked earlier, have you taken your P80 apart to see inside?
_________________________
"If we lose freedom here, there's no place to escape to."
MSU - the university of Michigan!
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#692970 - 05/29/04 12:15 AM Re: Want an engineer to make a 49-key weighted action digital keyboard
Larry Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/01
Posts: 9217
Loc: Deep in Cherokee Country
The minute you add the word "weighted" to the equation, portability is out the window. It isn't a matter of engineering, it's a matter of mass. The unit simply ends up weighing too much to be called portable.
_________________________
Life isn't measured by the breaths you take. Life is measured by the things that left you breathless

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#692971 - 06/04/04 08:29 AM Re: Want an engineer to make a 49-key weighted action digital keyboard
Peter_G_Moll Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/17/04
Posts: 30
Loc: Arlington, VA
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 hence 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 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 G. Moll

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#692972 - 12/01/04 05:44 AM Re: Want an engineer to make a 49-key weighted action digital keyboard
Peter_G_Moll Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/17/04
Posts: 30
Loc: Arlington, VA
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 G. Moll

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#692973 - 12/01/04 12:04 PM Re: Want an engineer to make a 49-key weighted action digital keyboard
Dan M Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/30/03
Posts: 770
Loc: California
Hi Peter,
Can you tell us how much it cost, for the piano and the modification?

How does it look, did they make a new case for it? Can you post pictures? Thanks, appreciate the information.

Dan
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Why are you reading this? Go play the piano! Why am I writing this? ARGGG!

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#692974 - 12/03/04 06:42 AM Re: Want an engineer to make a 49-key weighted action digital keyboard
gryphon Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/09/01
Posts: 11678
Loc: Okemos, MI
Cool! Good news, can you post pics?
_________________________
"If we lose freedom here, there's no place to escape to."
MSU - the university of Michigan!
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#692975 - 12/03/04 07:40 AM Re: Want an engineer to make a 49-key weighted action digital keyboard
rintincop Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/11/04
Posts: 1521
I would love to see a photo of that. How much did a job like that cost? I would like a chop down to 76 keys.
_________________________
1966 Mason & Hamlin piano.

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#692976 - 12/03/04 10:57 AM Re: Want an engineer to make a 49-key weighted action digital keyboard
Peter_G_Moll Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/17/04
Posts: 30
Loc: Arlington, VA
Dear Ritincop, Dan M. and Gryphon,

Here are two pictures.





Regards,

Peter
_________________________
Peter G. Moll

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#692977 - 12/03/04 11:04 AM Re: Want an engineer to make a 49-key weighted action digital keyboard
kluurs Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/24/02
Posts: 3739
Loc: Chicago
Too Cool for School!!!

Really nice.


K

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#692978 - 12/03/04 01:43 PM Re: Want an engineer to make a 49-key weighted action digital keyboard
rintincop Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/11/04
Posts: 1521
Thanks, that is great!
May I ask how much that chop down job cost?
How many hours did it take? Besides cutting did they have to relocate internal components and rewire it?
_________________________
1966 Mason & Hamlin piano.

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#692979 - 12/03/04 01:53 PM Re: Want an engineer to make a 49-key weighted action digital keyboard
kluurs Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/24/02
Posts: 3739
Loc: Chicago
just thinking...if one could get two of them - might be able to reproduce one of those big bosie's with the extra keys...Hm...

K

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#692980 - 12/06/04 05:36 AM Re: Want an engineer to make a 49-key weighted action digital keyboard
Peter_G_Moll Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/17/04
Posts: 30
Loc: Arlington, VA
 Quote:
Originally posted by rintincop:
Thanks, that is great!
May I ask how much that chop down job cost?
How many hours did it take? Besides cutting did they have to relocate internal components and rewire it? [/b]
Dear Ritincop,

They took about 3 months, but were apparently not actually working on it during most of that time. I was in no hurry, so I didn't mind. If I recall they said that engineering work cost $70/hour and non-engineering work cost some $50/hour, and possibly the spread was half-half. From that you could figure out the number of hours.

Regards,


Peter
_________________________
Peter G. Moll

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#692981 - 12/06/04 07:48 AM Re: Want an engineer to make a 49-key weighted action digital keyboard
fogwall Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/01/04
Posts: 160
Loc: Sweden
So you don't like M-audio's 49-key variant?
_________________________
www.fogwall.com

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#692982 - 12/07/04 11:34 AM Re: Want an engineer to make a 49-key weighted action digital keyboard
signa Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/04
Posts: 8483
Loc: Ohio, USA
it looks cool, and much smaller!

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#692983 - 04/29/07 01:30 PM Re: Want an engineer to make a 49-key weighted action digital keyboard
ctnski Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/01/06
Posts: 272
Loc: Jacksonville, FL
This is so cool! I have a P80 sitting at home in the Philippines that I'm going to take the sawsall to next time I get home. Totally rad, dude! No more freakouts from the customs sharks!

Craig
_________________________
NY Steinway A 2005; Roland FP-7F/ FP-4

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#692984 - 04/30/07 11:24 AM Re: Want an engineer to make a 49-key weighted action digital keyboard
Gyro Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/24/05
Posts: 4533
But this cost something like 5000.00 to
10,000.00? I personally am skeptical
of value of such an item at this
price. I have been playing for many
yrs. now, but during that time I've
had many long periods (20 yrs., 5 yrs.,
3 yrs., 1 yr., etc.) when I gave up
playing and thought I would never play
again. But each time that I restarted
I found that I could quickly get back
into it and, what's more, that my
playing had actually improved. Thus,
I personally see no problem with not
playing for a time, be it a few days,
a few weeks, a few months, or a few years.
Each time you restart you should find
that the absence has actually be beneficial
and the you've gained from it.

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#692985 - 04/30/07 12:29 PM Re: Want an engineer to make a 49-key weighted action digital keyboard
Eternal Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/21/06
Posts: 1285
Loc: Posts: 80,372
The dude obviously has some serious ca$h to burn...

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#692986 - 04/30/07 12:41 PM Re: Want an engineer to make a 49-key weighted action digital keyboard
ctnski Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/01/06
Posts: 272
Loc: Jacksonville, FL
I don't think I saw any definitive price. But as I have an obsolete P80 sitting around, and since I am an engineer myself, I am willing to give it a go. But since I just left the Philippines, it won't be till around Christmas before I get a chance. I have a hard case for a 61-key 'board, and I plan to chop off enough to make it a snug fit, probably give me 65 keys, enough to play an awful lot of piano music, up till around 1810, and even much after that if I pick and choose.
_________________________
NY Steinway A 2005; Roland FP-7F/ FP-4

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#692987 - 05/01/07 04:39 PM Re: Want an engineer to make a 49-key weighted action digital keyboard
goose Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/03/05
Posts: 17
Loc: Prague, CZ
I know this is an old thread, but it seems ripe for resurrection since the VAX-77 folding keyboard is supposed to be coming out soon.

See their website here:
http://www.infiniteresponse.com/VAX77.html

The jury's still out on whether it's for real, but let's hope so. I live on the fifth floor with no elevator. Would suit me :-)

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#692988 - 05/01/07 04:49 PM Re: Want an engineer to make a 49-key weighted action digital keyboard
signa Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/04
Posts: 8483
Loc: Ohio, USA
if VAX-77 folding keyboard has weighted action, i would consider it for travel. the site doesn't have enough info on it though.

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#692989 - 03/24/08 11:40 AM Re: Want an engineer to make a 49-key weighted action digital keyboard
Peter_G_Moll Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/17/04
Posts: 30
Loc: Arlington, VA
I have recently taken my 53-key Yamaha P80 with me on a month-long trip to Africa. It worked perfectly. I was able to play Bach (several WTC and the prelude to the 5th English Suite), most of a Beethoven piece (the Andante Favori), Chopin (Nocturne Op. 32), and several Chopin-Godowsky studies. The total weight, including the robust flight case, is 38 pounds. This was accepted without demur by Lufthansa and by South African airways. The flight case has wheels for easy maneuvrability. I had no difficulties with airport security.

Getting the engineering done was quite expensive, but well worth it. My practising schedule does not come to an end when I travel. It's also much better than taking a little synth or controller with horrid organ-type keys with no or unsuitable weighting.

Strongly recommended.
_________________________
Peter G. Moll

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#692990 - 03/24/08 04:50 PM Re: Want an engineer to make a 49-key weighted action digital keyboard
DanXZ Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/12/06
Posts: 69
Loc: North Yorkshire, UK
I'm a little tempted to try this with my casio privia which I bought for pretty much the same reasons. I think it would be an easier job than the yamaha.

The case ends (which have sockets in) are not moulded as 1 piece with the main body so in theory I could remove the ends, cut the body down, losing a few keys in the process, and put the original ends back on.

I reckon if I'm willing to lose the built in speakers I can take off an octave at either end without interfering with any control switches, assuming the circuitry doesn't extend too far beyond the furthest controls. Don't think I'd do it as neatly as yours but I'm fairly confident it would be successful.

Might open it up for a look one day when I'm in one of my reckless moods!

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#692991 - 03/25/08 12:13 PM Re: Want an engineer to make a 49-key weighted action digital keyboard
SSB Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/18/08
Posts: 184
Loc: Cumbria, UK
Seems like you're not alone in wanting a portable piano ...

http://www.travelpiano.com/index.htm
_________________________
User ratings are the work of the devil

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#1326822 - 12/16/09 04:46 PM Re: Want an engineer to make a 49-key weighted action digital keyboard [Re: SSB]
John Roney Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/16/09
Posts: 1
Loc: Canada
ok. let me get this straight... peter g. moll- you paid several thousand dollars to get a p80 cut down to a travel-able size ? by whom? why not some other model that is a little less bulky ? (p85 is lighter, Korg rh3 is more 'mechanically compact', roland also has similarly modeled piano actions)... the p80 is a little sluggish, in my opinion.. albeit, that's amazing! ..
would it not have been more cost effective to have a keyboard body built, and add-on an xg soundsource (as seen on www.travelpiano.com)?
i think there's a huge market out there for this... i do alot of touring, and i also don't want to give up my practice routine.
something with a decent piano sound, runs on batteries (not even necessary, really- there are external battery companies all over the net), and FEELS GOOD - keeps the muscles in shape, and the brain active. the m-audio products (and cme, and doepfer, etc) all have the same synth action... no good for a 'pianist'. all of these keyboards (casio the worst offender) have not quite achieved the piano sound (harmonics are waaay off).. though in casio's defense, they have a good 'action' for the product / price, if you use another soundsource.

so, can we have some more definitive answers out there?

who are the people that are doing this type of engineering?
are they willing to 'create' something on spec (rip up any 'board, and fuse it with any chipset?)?
are they interested in this market for distribution of their products/services?
what is the actual cost of ONE unit?
are there any other products out there that we could really get our hands on that would be satisfying?
(satisfaction = good quality action, small footprint (49-55 keys), lightweight, decent sound).

if anyone from the tech sector is reading this, you've got alot of money to make!

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#1326884 - 12/16/09 05:54 PM Re: Want an engineer to make a 49-key weighted action digital keyboard [Re: John Roney]
dewster Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/09
Posts: 4345
Loc: Northern NJ
If I had all the time in the world I'd probably start with the flight case and work my way back from there.

I would pick a nice small flight case that could hold the shortened keybed and build it into that. Why put the keys in a case, and then put that in a case? Just adds to the weight.


Edited by dewster (12/16/09 06:22 PM)
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The DPBSD Project!
THE RD-700NX Thread!
DPs Exposed! (nekid pichures!)

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#1326909 - 12/16/09 06:25 PM Re: Want an engineer to make a 49-key weighted action digital keyboard [Re: katie_dup1]
ChrisA Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/28/08
Posts: 3841
Loc: Redondo Beach, California
Originally Posted By: katie_dup1
Yup ..... i've mentioned this on this forum too ..... What I'd really like is a fold up (like a book) 88 key weighed portable keyboard for travelling, but a slightly smaller keyboard would do too. Why can't someone just invent this?


If you could afford to pay some one to build one of these then you should be able to pay all the tips to the porters who'd handle an 88-key piano in a flight case. Keep a roll if $5 bills in your pocket. I suspect that roll of bills would be much cheaper than a custom built piano.

Why can't they invent it? A small engineering staff can burn a half million dollars per year by the time you pay them wages and benefits and the overhead and taxes and rent of the office space. The market for a fold up piano can't be very large and you'd have to divide the engineering cost over the number sold. Cheaper to just tip porters and cab drivers to slep your 88-key flight case. Also there is the matter of investment risk as you don't know how many pianos you can sell (if any) before you invest in the development.

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#1327510 - 12/17/09 01:48 PM Re: Want an engineer to make a 49-key weighted action digita [Re: ChrisA]
signa Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/04
Posts: 8483
Loc: Ohio, USA
i don't know why people drag this old thread out again, while they could just post a new one.

but anyway, i suddenly got an idea (after reading the last 2 posts), that DP makers can actually build a DP with an integrated case where the bottom part is a part of keyboard body and top part is a cover which can be removed when playing. if such a DP is built, then all you have to do is to put the top case on and take the whole thing (which is a flight case) for travel.

i think this is a good idea, and you just need a DP but not an extra case for travel.

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