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#246163 - 11/17/03 04:47 PM Travel piano?
gryphon Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/09/01
Posts: 11678
Loc: Okemos, MI
Is there *any* type of portable piano/keyboard, no matter how crappy, that is suitable for people away from home? I'm finding myself stuck in hotels a fair amount right now and if there was something that I could check with the airlines I'd deal with checked baggage. Maybe something with 73 keys. Several companies make travel guitars, how about travel pianos?

(Yeah, I'm sitting in a Courtyard Inn right now).
_________________________
"If we lose freedom here, there's no place to escape to."
MSU - the university of Michigan!
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#246164 - 11/17/03 06:45 PM Re: Travel piano?
Ariel Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/07/03
Posts: 3028
Loc: NE
Hey, gryphon!

As you must suspect, there is nothing you can safely hand over to airport luggage handlers \:\( .

My son has a very nice Technics "portable" piano purchased so that he has a practice instrument at his Dad's and also possibly to take on long vacations. We just did, in fact, take it with us on a car-trip (fat lot of good it did as he forgot the adapter!).

"Portable" in quotes, because it weighs a ton (as in 50lbs or more) - plus you need a stand which can, however, be lightweight. You could only hear yourself with earphones as you WOULDN'T contemplate carrying the speakers too, I'm sure.

However, even though we paid a pretty penny (several hundred dollars) for the ne plus ultra case which had the highest rating for airline transport safety - forget term - it was explained to me after purchase that there was still no guarantee against damage. Looking into the issue of musical instrument transport, it seems as per the airlines, you just have to purchase another seat - for your cello or sax or Technics or whatever! Ha-Ha. Of course, I can't really picture maneuvering down the aisle in your average compressed aircraft, carrying that baby.

Anyhow, if it's a road trip this is\\IS a great option (if it fits in your car) - great touch sensitivity, samplings and tonal range.

Otherwise - and I hate to suggest this in a way - there is an 88 key device called a "Keyman" made by the SUZUKI music corp (no relation) in Calidornia. It's not all it was originally cracked up to be (I looked into it a lot when it first came out), however, it's lightweight and very handy and the price has dropped like a stone.
I think they're running just a few hundred now and you could probably find one on eBay in excellent condition. They're really pretty neat - light years ahead of a keybowrd - just a far cry from a real piano. You won't find anything closer to a "travel piano" than a KEYMAN.

The Technics cost us about 2K with case and speakers, but I think we were ripped off. Sorry, no model number handy (it's at his Dad's!). I'm told many music majors and even budding concert artists use them to practice in dorm or hotel rooms.

Ariel

PS Desperate to talk to you about water heaters; thanks for offer! \:\)
_________________________
If this is coffee, bring me tea. If this is tea, bring me coffee.
~Abraham Lincoln~

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#246165 - 11/17/03 07:05 PM Re: Travel piano?
gryphon Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/09/01
Posts: 11678
Loc: Okemos, MI
Eek. This is a bit large.

_________________________
"If we lose freedom here, there's no place to escape to."
MSU - the university of Michigan!
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#246166 - 11/17/03 07:16 PM Re: Travel piano?
Ariel Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/07/03
Posts: 3028
Loc: NE
It's just as wide as a regular 88 key piano. However, what difference will a dozen keys less make? Barring an actual FOLDING portable piano (I heard a rumor that there is such a creature), none of them will be more maneuverable )or able to be stowed in a normal suitcase) - and the KEYMAN IS light (hence picture of Betty Crocker carrying it).

One thing you need to consider, of course, is Airport security. You don't want your little music-maker being dismantled key by key to check for explosives (quote a clever idea, actually for the wrong sort of mindset)!

Ariel
_________________________
If this is coffee, bring me tea. If this is tea, bring me coffee.
~Abraham Lincoln~

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#246167 - 11/17/03 07:18 PM Re: Travel piano?
Bob Muir Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/01/03
Posts: 2653
Loc: Lakewood, WA, USA
A 76 key (or fewer) keyboard would be much easier to tote around. But I don't think you'll find one with a piano type action. There are plenty of keyboards with graded hammer action, but they are 88 key monsters. The Yamaha P90 "only" weighs 37 lbs. \:\)

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#246168 - 11/17/03 07:46 PM Re: Travel piano?
pete blues Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/09/03
Posts: 96
Loc: Felton, CA
http://www.doepfer.de/home_e.htm

look for products - PK88

all you need then is a midi soundmodule (or piano module), and you have an unbeatable hammer mechanics.

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#246169 - 11/17/03 07:48 PM Re: Travel piano?
pete blues Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/09/03
Posts: 96
Loc: Felton, CA
and if you want only 76 keys, go here:
http://www.studiologic.net/sl-760.htm
but those keys are only semiweighted. I'd prefer fully weighted.

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#246170 - 11/17/03 09:40 PM Re: Travel piano?
JoeB Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/03
Posts: 671
Loc: Northern California
The "silent keyboard" is one possibility. Charles Cook in "Playing Piano for Pleasure" tells of using the silent keyboard for practicing technique. The old silent keyboards apparently had some movement and came in travel cases. At http://www.friendshiphouse.com/784tm.html they have a molded plastic keyboard but it looks solid and probably wouldn't work very well.
_________________________
"How, Monsieur, you care not for music? You do not play the clavecin? I am sorry for you! You are indeed condemming yourself to a dull old age!" - Fouquet

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#246171 - 11/18/03 05:09 PM Re: Travel piano?
gryphon Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/09/01
Posts: 11678
Loc: Okemos, MI
Thanks for all of your suggestions. They are mostly more expensive than I want. I'm looking for something cheap and very portable. Maybe I'll look at some regular cheapo digitals.

By the way, do not type "travel piano" (in quotes) into google. I'd tell you what it comes up with but Frank would send me to banned camp.
_________________________
"If we lose freedom here, there's no place to escape to."
MSU - the university of Michigan!
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#246172 - 05/18/04 08:56 AM Re: Travel piano?
Peter_G_Moll Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/17/04
Posts: 30
Loc: Arlington, VA
Dear Gryphon,

I have also been hunting for a piano or keyboard which is light enough to travel with. Please see my post in the digital pianos/synths forum, at

http://www.pianoworld.com/ubb/ubb/ultimatebb.php?/topic/6/423.html

If you happen to have any further information, I'd be delighted to hear it.

Best regards.
_________________________
Peter G. Moll

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#246173 - 05/19/04 10:11 AM Re: Travel piano?
pianojuggler Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/16/04
Posts: 1515
Hiya, Gryph. I have had the same problem. Hey, Courtyard Inn, Residence Inn, Embassy Suites... most of the business class hotels have the same problem: No pianos in the rooms!

Heck, until you move up to Hilton, Hyatt, etc., they don't even have pianos in the lobby that you could sneak down and play at 2:00 in the morning (although I did stay at a very inexpensive tourist class hotel in the Potts Point neighborhood of Sydney that had a piano in the lobby that guests were invited to play).

Here are a couple of alternatives I have tried:

Stay at B&Bs, but call ahead and ask if they have a piano in the house that you would be allowed to play.

Here in the Pacific NorthWET, many public libraries have pianos. Quality is all over the board, as is the state of in-tune-ness.

Instead of "portable", consider "disposable". A couple years ago, I was in Atlanta for a few weeks. A week before I left home, I won a keyboard (cheap 61 key Kawai) on eBay and arranged to have the seller ship it to my hotel so it arrived within a day of when I did. I actually just planned to junk it at the end of the trip, but it is small enough and light enough that I took it home and have taken it on other trips. I have a well-padded cardboard box in which I carry it...sometimes I check it in, sometimes I carry it on. If something happens to it, I'm not overly concerned because it was a cheeeeeep keyboard to begin with. I keep waiting for a TSA screener to ask me to play something to prove it's just a keyboard.

I've also thought about modifying it by removing the speaker and battery compartment, cutting off the "control panel" to narrow the overall dimensions and reduce weight, then replacing the control panel as the back of the case. I usually use headphones, so I don't need the speaker, and I use an AC adapter, so I don't need the batteries. My only concern is that modifying it thus (with ample amounts of black tape), it would raise even more suspicion going through airport security.

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#246174 - 05/19/04 06:47 PM Re: Travel piano?
Eric F Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/23/03
Posts: 518
Loc: La Quinta, CA
Kawai makes a slick digital (ESX series?) that has 88 keys and an onboard speaker. The action's weighted, but because it lacks cabinet, it still doesn't weigh much. What ever you get, get an Anvil case if you're going to send it through alot of airports.
_________________________
Eric Frankson
"Music comes first from my heart, and then goes upstairs to my head where I check it out." - Roberta Flack

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#246175 - 05/20/04 09:47 AM Re: Travel piano?
pianojuggler Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/16/04
Posts: 1515
Two and a half other alternatives:

When making your travel plans, make sure your hotel is within a mile or two of a piano store. I was in SoCal last year, and went into a piano store for an hour to practice this lovely Bach Minuet I was memorizing for my holiday recital.

Alternatively, make sure your hotel is within a mile or two of a PW Forum member. You might get some cookies and milk along with access to a piano. If you're travelling to the PNW, you're always welcome to stop in and play my Knabe.

Even better, just find a PW Forum member with a spare bedroom, and you're set!

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#246176 - 05/20/04 09:55 AM Re: Travel piano?
Dan M Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/30/03
Posts: 770
Loc: California
I was wondering about this, what is the etiquette for practicing at a store? I'd rather not bang on their pianos just because I'm traveling and need to practice.

Do some stores have pianos that can be rented for a couple of hours?
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Why are you reading this? Go play the piano! Why am I writing this? ARGGG!

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#246177 - 05/20/04 10:03 AM Re: Travel piano?
BDB Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21829
Loc: Oakland
Check out the Marius Folding Harpsichord on this page: Musical Instrument Museum.
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Semipro Tech

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#246178 - 05/20/04 10:21 AM Re: Travel piano?
Christopher James Quinn Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/15/03
Posts: 2299
 Quote:
Originally posted by Dan M:
I was wondering about this, what is the etiquette for practicing at a store? I'd rather not bang on their pianos just because I'm traveling and need to practice.

Do some stores have pianos that can be rented for a couple of hours? [/b]
I have always found it impossible to go into a store 'just to play some pianos' unless I was really shopping for myself or with a friend. I can not imagine going into a store and ask them if I can practice on one of their pianos.

The in-store rental may be an option though, if a store has various rooms set up. I used to re-visit the store where I bought my old Baldwin, they had rehearsal space which I would use.

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#246179 - 05/20/04 12:10 PM Re: Travel piano?
mch412 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/19/04
Posts: 32
Loc: Springfield, MA
If your always traveling to the same places, try checking out local music schools, colleges or even piano dealers. If you find any a short trip from the hotel, chances are you could make some type of arrangement to get some practice time.
_________________________
Former piano sales-weasel

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#246180 - 05/20/04 01:22 PM Re: Travel piano?
pianojuggler Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/16/04
Posts: 1515
 Quote:
Originally posted by Dan M:
I was wondering about this, what is the etiquette for practicing at a store? I'd rather not bang on their pianos just because I'm traveling and need to practice.

Do some stores have pianos that can be rented for a couple of hours? [/b]
My etiquette guidelines:

If possible, go mid-day so you are not interfering with real customers. Wash your hands, and bring no food or drink with you. If you are an honest, upstanding, forthright sort, or if you might need to pull this stunt repeatedly at the same store, ask if you might play one of their fine instruments for a while and perhaps confine yourself to use selection of used pianos. Otherwise, just act as if you are a real customer and have at it.

I have done this in several cities in a few countries. I have been courteous, polite, and considerate, and I have never been ejected from a piano store. And it has given me the opportunity to practice on a few Steinways, Boesendorfers, etc. which I would otherwise not have played.

In fact, the ability to do this is one reason I took up the piano instead of going back to the cello. Pianos are everywhere, and I really have snuck down to the lobby while staying in a nice hotel to run through a piece once or twice.

Now, would any of the folks here who actually own or work in piano stores care to toss in their 2 cents' worth?

.

BTW, if you are in Seattle and Alex tosses you out of his store (which I just can NOT imagine him doing), there is a piano at nearby Westlake Center which the public is invited to play.

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#246181 - 05/20/04 01:40 PM Re: Travel piano?
pianojuggler Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/16/04
Posts: 1515
How about this one with a folding keyboard? J.B. Cramer Portable Piano

From: Period Piano in Kent, England

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#246182 - 05/20/04 03:22 PM Re: Travel piano?
Eric F Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/23/03
Posts: 518
Loc: La Quinta, CA
Most stores have a large selection of digitals, and all have headphone jacks. If you ask nicely to practice on a digital (you were thinking about a digital anyways) and have your own headphones, I would think you could practice in any city or town you visit. Just be clear with the salesman or manager that you're not currently shopping for a keyboard, or you probably will be peppered with qualifying questions and trial closes. One way or the other, your visiting many piano stores across the U.S. should give you an interesting insight into our industry. I look forward to reading more posts. Eric
_________________________
Eric Frankson
"Music comes first from my heart, and then goes upstairs to my head where I check it out." - Roberta Flack

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#246183 - 12/01/04 05:49 AM Re: Travel piano?
Peter_G_Moll Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/17/04
Posts: 30
Loc: Arlington, VA
Dear Gryphon and others,

I have just received my special order of a modified P-80 cut down, literally, from 88 to 53 keys. See my post at the Synth Forum (part of Piano World Forums).

Regards,


Peter
_________________________
Peter G. Moll

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#246184 - 04/29/07 12:39 PM Re: Travel piano?
mookits Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/28/07
Posts: 5
I've been working on a 'folding piano' as a pet project... I'm aiming for ultimate portability with the least sacrifices. Please checkout www.travelpiano.com. Though don't get too excited it's a long way off being useable.

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#246185 - 04/29/07 01:00 PM Re: Travel piano?
ctnski Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/01/06
Posts: 272
Loc: Jacksonville, FL
All,
My Roland FP-2 weighs 32 lbs, has a very responsive 88-key graded-hammer action and best of all fits into a 76-key case to maximize portability. I am extremely happy with this digital piano. While on this topic, I would like to throw out this question: why do 61-key 'boards not have middle C in the middle? The early 5-octave pianos went from f to f, and I believe all the music of Bach, Scarlatti, Handel, Haydn and Mozart, and most of Beethoven written before the Waldstein sonata, could be played on a piano with this compass, IF MIDDLE C WAS IN THE MIDDLE. Why oh why would it be otherwise?

When I want really portable, I tag along my Suzuki SP-67 61-key 'board and just play Bach.

Keep those ideas coming.

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

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#246186 - 04/29/07 01:28 PM Re: Travel piano?
mookits Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/28/07
Posts: 5
I suppose I could put middle C in the middle of my 61 note keyboard... I hadn't given that one much thought. Thanks for the idea!

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#246187 - 04/29/07 01:35 PM Re: Travel piano?
ctnski Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/01/06
Posts: 272
Loc: Jacksonville, FL
mookits,
Welks. Why couldn't some engineer at Yamaha or Roland figure that out?

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

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#246188 - 04/29/07 02:02 PM Re: Travel piano?
mookits Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/28/07
Posts: 5
I'm guessing alot of those engineers at Roland don't play piano so much. I just went and had a little investigation and you're absolutely right - my preferred range is F to F with C in the middle... I rarely go near the extreme high or low end.

A possible theory - there are three or four different shapes of white piano key (for example a C is the same as an F but an A is different from a D) and perhaps the range chosen by synth manufacturers is the range that produces an equal production run of each key and therefore the same cost for each key making life a lot simpler and cheaper for them.

But I'm not going to count them and test that theory. I have better things to do!!!

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#246189 - 04/29/07 02:19 PM Re: Travel piano?
ctnski Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/01/06
Posts: 272
Loc: Jacksonville, FL
mookits,
I went to your website and want to wish you success in your worthy project. You have a large potential population of mobile pianists out here in PW.

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

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#246190 - 04/29/07 02:51 PM Re: Travel piano?
mookits Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/28/07
Posts: 5
Thanks.

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#246191 - 04/30/07 10:06 AM Re: Travel piano?
Rock4Bach Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/13/07
Posts: 40
Loc: Birmingham, Alabama
Hey Gry.,

I have a diff outlook (I travel too via business). Check out M Audio and some other midi boards (also check out the synth threads). You could plug into your laptop and play. Take a look at some inexpensive instrument software. All in all, some of the midi controllers are very cheap and you could get software for around $100+. The deal is if you are going on the road with this alot, you may not want to have too much invested in case it goes missing, gets broken, etc. Also, some of these controllers are light weight.

The downside is that the action may be lacking, but it sure beats staring at 4 walls in a hotel room (been there done that). Good luck!
_________________________
Music Is My Passion, The Lord Is My Life

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#246192 - 04/30/07 11:06 AM Re: Travel piano?
mahlzeit Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/24/06
Posts: 1915
Loc: Netherlands
Get a roll-up piano ? My dad has one and they're pretty lousy, especially if you press more than one key at the same time, but it's better than nothing. \:D

(Oh, I just noticed it's a very old thread. \:\( )
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