66 Key Pianos - Are they still around????

Posted by: carey

66 Key Pianos - Are they still around???? - 08/07/08 12:31 AM

The first acoustic piano my parents bought when I started piano lessons in the mid-1950s was a slightly used 66 key spinet. It was a nice little instrument that served me well for three years. We sold the piano for $100 in 1959.

I have absolutely no recollection about who made the piano - and interestingly enough I've never seen one like it since. My guess is that this was a model built in the 1940s and 50s (intended for apartments and other small spaces) which didn't really catch on.

Does anyone know anything about these instruments - including who made them and whether any still exist??
Posted by: Bear 1

Re: 66 Key Pianos - Are they still around???? - 08/07/08 01:57 AM

Hey carey,

It might have been a 64 note Melodigrand, made by Aeolian I think. Built much on the order of a smaller spinet piano. Approximately 42" wide.
If I remember correctly they also built a 73 note piano at one time.

Cordially,

Bear
Posted by: SantaFe_Player

Re: 66 Key Pianos - Are they still around???? - 08/07/08 11:43 AM

Don't know about your piano but I saw a small (I'd say around 66 keys) spinet on board the MV Columbia on one of my trips back and forth to the Lower 48. I asked about it, because I was surprised to see a 'real' piano that didn't have at least 88 keys. The ship's bursor told me that there were a fair number of these in existence specifically for putting on board ships, as they are a bit lighter and take up less room but afford the opportunity for passengers and crew to enjoy "real" piano music. I never knew whether this was true or not, but it made sense, although I can't imagine there are so many ships out there with miniature pianos on board that it would have been an economaically compelling thing for a manufacturer on its own.
Posted by: radaddict

Re: 66 Key Pianos - Are they still around???? - 08/07/08 12:41 PM

As a child I first played on a piano my father had purchased in 1939. I don't remember the manufacturer, but it said Mini-piano on it. It had less than 88 keys, but more than 66.
Posted by: BDB

Re: 66 Key Pianos - Are they still around???? - 08/07/08 12:45 PM

There are a number of short keyboard pianos that were available at various times. Today, there are short keyboard digital instruments that serve the same purpose, but are even more portable.
Posted by: sotto voce

Re: 66 Key Pianos - Are they still around???? - 08/07/08 01:10 PM

When I was a kid, an aunt had an Aeolian Pianola player piano with a short keyboard. It was ... frustrating.

I remember "running out of keys," but not the exact range. Were keyboard compasses standardized for pianos with fewer than 88 keys?

Steven
Posted by: tickler

Re: 66 Key Pianos - Are they still around???? - 08/07/08 03:23 PM

I've seen a Wurlitzer console with only (about) 5 octaves, 60+ keys.

Mary
Posted by: Eric Gloo

Re: 66 Key Pianos - Are they still around???? - 08/07/08 03:30 PM

Some brands that come to the top of my head include: Wurlitzer, Eavestaff (Mini-piano...made by Hardman & Peck?), Melodigrand, Gulbransen
Posted by: Eric Gloo

Re: 66 Key Pianos - Are they still around???? - 08/07/08 03:33 PM

Oh...forgot Weber. I tuned one of those a few years ago...fairly new piano...more than 66 keys, though...maybe an octave short..
Posted by: carey

Re: 66 Key Pianos - Are they still around???? - 08/08/08 01:19 AM

Thanks for the information everyone. I really appreciate it.

I'll probably never know exectly what we had back then - but it could very well have been a Melodigrand. Since reading your posts, I've found craigslist and e-bay ads for at least ten Melodigrands - all over the nation. From the photos most appear like they are in good condition - and the prices range from $125 to $800. In fact there's one for sale here in Phoenix for $225.

I remember that the piano was great for playing Bach and Mozart - but very frustrating when it came to Rachmanioff and Chopin!!

Thanks again for your responses.
Posted by: SantaFe_Player

Re: 66 Key Pianos - Are they still around???? - 08/08/08 03:26 PM

Carey, you'd have a hard time on it with Brahms and Liszt, too \:\)
Posted by: Hazel Quinn

Re: 66 Key Pianos - Are they still around???? - 08/08/08 04:17 PM

I see the Eavestaff Mini-piano is mentioned here (and given a hard time on another forum thread!). I play one of these most weeks at our local drinking hole where we have an acoustic music night. It's black and chrome art-deco design with its own little deco stool. It needs attention but this particular one has wonderful bass tones which I enjoy for jazzy walking bass lines or setting the rhythm on some brazilian jazz. I have heard them called 'yacht pianos' before which ties in with the earlier post about them going on board ships.

~Hazel

My dumb piano blog: http://hazelquinn.bravejournal.com
Posted by: Del

Re: 66 Key Pianos - Are they still around???? - 08/08/08 04:44 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by sotto voce:

I remember "running out of keys," but not the exact range. Were keyboard compasses standardized for pianos with fewer than 88 keys?

Steven [/b]
The 88-note keyboard compass did not become "standard" until about the middle of the 19th century. Prior to this the keyboard compass was much shorter and there was little standardization. Steinway built 85-note (ending at A-85) Model Bs until 1892.

I continue to be intrigued with the idea of building an 85-note, 160 cm (5’3”) grand leaving off the lowest three notes. I’ve gone as far as drawing up a design cartoon so I can study the layout. The piano is about 130 cm (51”) wide, is about as slender, and light (both aesthetically and in weight) as possible. This concept is designed to be a very high-performance grand for the very small living room or music room. By leaving off the lowest three notes I can make the rest of the bass—the rest of the piano, for that—perform more like that of a 170 cm or 180 cm piano.

I haven’t talked myself into building one yet. Nor have I been able to convince any manufacturer to take the plunge. So, we’ll see….

ddf
Posted by: carey

Re: 66 Key Pianos - Are they still around???? - 08/08/08 11:00 PM

Sounds very intriguing Del !! I hope you get the opportunity to do this. Its good to know that there are talented, innovative folks in the field willing to take risks and think out of the box!
Posted by: sotto voce

Re: 66 Key Pianos - Are they still around???? - 08/08/08 11:39 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by Del:
 Quote:
Originally posted by sotto voce:
I remember "running out of keys," but not the exact range. Were keyboard compasses standardized for pianos with fewer than 88 keys?

Steven
The 88-note keyboard compass did not become "standard" until about the middle of the 19th century. Prior to this the keyboard compass was much shorter and there was little standardization. Steinway built 85-note (ending at A-85) Model Bs until 1892.[/b]
Thanks, Del, but actually I was wondering about modern short-keyboard pianos. What would be the typical compass of a 64- or 66-note piano like the Aeolian Pianola I mentioned?

Steven
Posted by: Del

Re: 66 Key Pianos - Are they still around???? - 08/09/08 01:46 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by sotto voce:
 Quote:
Originally posted by Del:
 Quote:
Originally posted by sotto voce:
I remember "running out of keys," but not the exact range. Were keyboard compasses standardized for pianos with fewer than 88 keys?

Steven
The 88-note keyboard compass did not become "standard" until about the middle of the 19th century. Prior to this the keyboard compass was much shorter and there was little standardization. Steinway built 85-note (ending at A-85) Model Bs until 1892.[/b]
Thanks, Del, but actually I was wondering about modern short-keyboard pianos. What would be the typical compass of a 64- or 66-note piano like the Aeolian Pianola I mentioned?

Steven [/b]
To my knowledge no 64- or 66-note pianos are being made today. And I do not know the keyboard compass of the Aeolian Pianola. I do remember seeing one several decades back but my memory is not that good. Sorry.

ddf
Posted by: Barbara G

Re: 66 Key Pianos - Are they still around???? - 08/10/08 11:31 PM

I have a book called: Piano[/b] , by David Crombie. It has very many pictures and descriptions of the history of the piano. It has pictures and descriptions of the Minipiano which was made by Eavenstaff, London from 1937 and until 1958. The Minx Miniture piano which was made by Kemble of England from 1935 and for 32 years., and also "yacht" pianos which were made by many companies. The minipiano was made from a prior Swedish design. The Minipiano had 6 octives and came in three versions. The Minx was an improved piano and was copied by companies in Europe and the US. The Ministrelle was made in France as well as Pleyel made the Elite and the Gaveau le Menuet. Feurich made a version. And Hardman Peck made the Minx in the US. He says that there were other copies.

here is an 85 key Mini Minx
http://manchester.gumtree.com/manchester/09/24730509.html
another
http://www.markgoodwinpianos.co.uk/img/p222x-kemble-minx-photos/
A 7 octive version
http://www.brightonpianos.co.uk/Minx%20Upright.htm
Here is info and pictures of the Minipiano
http://www.uk-piano.org/history/eavestaff.html
Posted by: carey

Re: 66 Key Pianos - Are they still around???? - 08/11/08 11:53 PM

Jordang -

Thanks for the info and the links !!

Very interesting !!

Carey
Posted by: Barbara Ann

Re: 66 Key Pianos - Are they still around???? - 11/17/10 10:17 AM

I coincidentally popped in here and saw your post about the 66 key piano. I just had a call last week to tune a spinet. It is a 66 key Winton made by Acrosonic in 1918. It needs damper felt firstly. I usually just tune and do minor repairs so i am trying to come up with a fair price for my customer and myself.
Can someone give me an idea of thier charges for this? I am thinking 2 hours labor plus parts.
Posted by: M.O.P.

Re: 66 Key Pianos - Are they still around???? - 11/17/10 11:58 AM

Hi Barbara Ann, your inquiry about figuring a fair price for the work might be better served by being posted over the on Technician's Forum here at PW. smile
Posted by: Barbara Ann

Re: 66 Key Pianos - Are they still around???? - 11/17/10 12:29 PM

Thanks M.O.P duly noted, as you can tell i haven't posted in so long i was unfamiliar in which forum i posted this but the answer to the 66 keys piano might have been helpful atleast, i'm hoping. smile
Posted by: Silverwood Pianos

Re: 66 Key Pianos - Are they still around???? - 11/17/10 05:06 PM

Originally Posted By: Barbara Ann

Can someone give me an idea of their charges for this? I am thinking 2 hours labor plus parts.


Here is the fairest way to calculate this: take the fee you charge for tuning a full keyboard. Then divide that fee by 7.3 (octaves)

Example: My fee for a tuning is 140.00 Divide by 7.3 = 19.178082.

So 20 bucks per octave should put you pretty close to fair.

Throw in a few of those damper felts for the little difference,and you are done.

I just sold a Mason & Risch 56 key instrument from the 40’s.

I have here at the moment a 76 key instrument from Steigerman ( 1985 Horugel factory)Here are a few shots of that one……

http://picasaweb.google.com/silverwoodpianos/SteigermanHG101125#

Posted by: Barbara Ann

Re: 66 Key Pianos - Are they still around???? - 11/18/10 10:41 AM

Thanks so much for your formula which i will keep in mind. I did come up with about that price but in a different way. Again, thank you! Great pics btw of the pianos!