Advice from keyboard musicians

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Eric_L, Aug 6, 2006.

  1. Eric_L

    Eric_L Screenwriter

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    In 2004 the piano I inherited from my grandmother was destroyed in Hurricane Charley. It was an old piano and barely worth $500. I still have it because I can't bring myself to discard it (and just how does one throw away a piano anyway?)

    My wife and I have discussed replacing it. Neither one of us (for opposite reasons) is too keen on buying another upright. I also don't have the room for anything else. She suggested an electronic keyboard.

    I figured I could buy a pretty decent keyboard controller for $500 or so w/ weighted keys, aftertouch, etc. and I found a bunch. Trouble is - none come with a stand. When I look for stands online all I can find is flimsy X shaped aluminum portable stands. YUK!

    The only other thing I saw was a casio electronic piano for about $1000 - but I don't think it would please me or be of similar quality to a good controller.

    So what do you all think? Are there any good looking stands or boards w' stands out there? It has been about a decade since I've been in the game - this will mostly be for my kids to learn and for me to tinker. I just want something which will look nice left in place against a wall and not set me back several thousand. Any suggestions? Should I open "Eric_L's High Quality and Attractive Keyboard Stand Company"?
     
  2. Paul D G

    Paul D G Screenwriter

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    Well, my ancient keyboard is on a X stand and it looks perfectly fine in my office. most people only see the keyboard anyway.

    Maybe take a look at some live performances (concert video or just late night tv) and see what people are using...

    -paul
     
  3. Eric_L

    Eric_L Screenwriter

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    Well,

    It's not just a matter of aesthetics, but also an issue of stability. My three children aren't exactly the most delicate musicians. (The Who in training)
    I figure I need some stability as well as quality. At this point I may end up building a cabinet myself. I'm not half-bad at it . Who knows - maybe there's a market for that sort of thing...
     
  4. Francois Caron

    Francois Caron Cinematographer

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    How much does a piano cost today? Or how about a Yamaha digital piano? You wouldn't have to worry about keyboard stands.
     
  5. Greg_R

    Greg_R Screenwriter

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    Eric L,
    Go to a professional musician's supply company. They sell all manner of stands for electric keyboards.

    Decent (used) acoustic upright pianos will run you $4-5k (so electric may be your best bet). Check out Larry Fine's "Piano Book" for current values and www.pianoworld.com for a good forum on piano playing and equipment (including stands).
     
  6. MarkHastings

    MarkHastings Executive Producer

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    Eric, I have a Fatar Studio Logic, 88 key (weighted keys) keyboard and with it weighing in at almost 50 pounds, I have it on one of those Quick-loc stands (the X type) and it's quite sturdy. It wiggles a little, but I would assume that one of those double X stands would be even better.

    I've never had a problem with the keyboard tipping.
     
  7. Brian W. Ralston

    Brian W. Ralston Supporting Actor

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    Yeah...a lot of the professional fold-up "x" stands are actually quite sturdy. More than they look. They are built to withstand and hold up on tour and through rigorous concert performances.

    As far as a keyboard controller goes...I have found that keyboard companies that are from parent companies that make actual pianos usually ahve the best weighted key action.

    The yamaha weighted controllers feel very nice and pretty real.

    Kruzweil keyboards (if you can find them) are awesome. That is what I use. Kurzweil is a division of Young Chang which of course makes pianos and is the only company outside of Steinway that was allowed access to the Steinway secrets and designs.

    Some older Roland piano controllers are nice like the A90.

    There is also an Kawai weighted action piano controller that is very expensive, but is VERY realistic. It has a full actual piano key with the lever and everything, it just hits an electrode instead of a string. So...you feel the full counterbalance as you would on a real piano. I don't know the model number of the Kawai (MP8 ???)...but just look for thier most expensive keyboard/piano controller and that is probably it.
     
  8. Paul D G

    Paul D G Screenwriter

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    Quik-Loc is exactly what I have and it's very stable. The base "feet" are longer than the "hands" that support the keyboard. I've just tested and the whole unit would have to be pulled forward pretty far for it to tip forward -- more than 45 degrees. The weight of the keyboard pushes it back to it's feet. And the rubber on the hands keep the keyboard from sliding off.

    I have two small kids (4 and 1.5) and both like to bang on the keys once in a while. They've never come close to knocking it over.

    -paul
     
  9. MarkHastings

    MarkHastings Executive Producer

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    especially when you set it at 'chair' height. When I set it higher (to stand at it), it was a little less stable. Being at sitting height, the legs are spread out much farther and it's a lot more stable that way. It does rock forward and backward a bit, but the keyboard itself is so darn heavy that you'd really need to shove the thing for it to fall over.

    Basically, if your kids are going to knock one of these things over, the sturdiness of the stand isn't your main concern. [​IMG]
     
  10. Eric_L

    Eric_L Screenwriter

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    I've checked out Kawai - but it looks to be sold in Europe mostly. Not a single one on Ebay.

    I'm not nearly as interested in getting an ultra-realistic feel so much as a reasonable instrument which more closely resembles furniture than an electronic toolbench.
     
  11. Jeff Ulmer

    Jeff Ulmer Producer

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    Try searching at Sweetwater for Yamaha's piano line. To get both a furniture looking stand and graded hammer action, you are looking at $1K+, but they have models below that. If the $500 budget is firm, then I would build a stand for a performance piano.
     
  12. Christ Reynolds

    Christ Reynolds Producer

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    tell the keith moon wannabe to go to town on the piano with his drumsticks, it should be toothpicks in no time.

    CJ
     
  13. Eric_L

    Eric_L Screenwriter

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    I had a goofy idea yesterday and I thought I'd run it past ya'll. My grandmother's piano cabinet is not in bad shape. What if I hired a furniture finisher to gut it and essentially turn it into a stand for an electronic board and amp? I wonder what it'd cost, if it'd look ok, and if it'd protect some of the sentimental value. What do you think?
     
  14. MarkHastings

    MarkHastings Executive Producer

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    That's an AWESOME idea!!! [​IMG] You could even incorporate the amp and speakers into the case of the piano....it would be like a giant speaker cabinet. [​IMG]
     
  15. Jeff Ulmer

    Jeff Ulmer Producer

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    Since many of the pianos have built in amps, you wouldn't necessarily even need to gut the piano, just pull the keyboard and hammers out and replace it with a shelf for the new unit. The only critical part would be making sure that the overall width of the new unit fit inside the existing case, and accomodation would need to be made to access the controls. I think it's a good idea.
     
  16. Randy Tennison

    Randy Tennison Screenwriter

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    As someone who spent a year as a piano salesman, I truly think you would pay a refinisher a lot of money to do this. Plus, you would have to find a piano repair person to pull the harp, the keyboard and hammers, and incorporate the new unit in, so that it passes muster. It's really a lot of money for something destroyed.

    If you are really wanting something to tinker on , and something for the kids to learn on, get a Yamaha keyboard. The sound quality is great, and they have so many great features that they are fun to play, even if you aren't classically trained.

    Do you think Grandma would want you to spend a lot of money to keep her old piano, or would she rather you spend money on the kids, getting them something fun to play, so they can learn to love music?

    FYI, I was at Sam's not too long ago, and they had an 88 key Yahama, built in stand, decent weighted action, for under $800.00 (if I recall correctly). I've been wanting to upgrade my Yamaha for some time, and was sorely tempted. So, there are decent keyboards out there.

    Also, stay away from Casio. They are just toys. Truly, IMHO, there is nothing like Yamaha. Remember, they started out as a musical instrument company (making organs). Look at their emblem. Know what it is? Three crossed tuning forks (part of my old sales spiel, put it is true).
     
  17. Eric_L

    Eric_L Screenwriter

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    Thanks for the input Randy. I ran the idea past my boss last night and she wasn't as keen on it as I expected. There is some polishing the cabinet needs and I will confess abundant ignorance to the process of removing the keys, harp, etc.

    I've been looking at Yamaha e-pianos online thanks you everyone's advice. (and yes - describing a casio as a toy is generous IMHO) I think I've narrowed it down to one of these;

    YDP223
    YDP131C
    YDP213
    I know - The price varies almost 100%. In spite of the fact my kids will be the primary benefactors I still hold out that I will finally find the time to compose some of my cheesy pursuits. I have cakewalk and maybe might get a midi-module to link to it and use it as a controller. From what I read the 223 should do the job. I don't see where the 213 will. The 131C looks to be about midway - and seems to give alot more for the buck than the 213 - at least the online summary says so. I gotta find a place where I can go check these out.

    Also - back in the day - Buying a keyboard was like buying a car - you never pay sticker. Is that still the case? How much is the markup? It used to be about 30% afik.
     
  18. BobV

    BobV Second Unit

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    If you're just going to slap an electronic keyboard in the the shell of your old upright, why not just buy a new upright??

    Anyways, that said, I've been playing piano since I was in grade 1. There is no electronic keyboard that is the same as a real piano... that said as well... I have an electronic keyboard now instead of a real piano because. logistically speaking, it was just the smarter choice right now.

    I purchased a Yamaha P80 a few years ago for close to $2000CAD. It was the best one for that money at the time, in my opinion. Realistic piano touch (although not perfect, none ever are) and extremely realistic playing sound (although not perfect, none ever are). That model has now been replaced by the Yamaha P90. You should probably be able to pick up a slightly used P80 for much less than $1250US I would think, and maybe less than a grand (no pun intended [​IMG] ).
     
  19. Eric_L

    Eric_L Screenwriter

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    I don't buy a new upright because of the cost and bulk factor. Also because I do have an interest in using it as a MIDI controller and using Cakewalk sometime before old age sets in...
     
  20. Francois Caron

    Francois Caron Cinematographer

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    Check the uprights again. Supposedly they already do that. One of them even has USB support!
     

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