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Aidan Offline OP
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I really need to get a better action on which to practice than my Nord. I don't have room for a grand - indeed, I recently had to sell the Kirkman grand I learned to play on as it was stored at my dad's and he's downsizing.

My father-in-law has very kindly offered me his upright as a gift. This is a very nice instrument, a W Hoffman (built by Bechstein in the Czech republic) and only about 15 years old. I'm sure it would make a very acceptable practice instrument.

However, another thought has struck me...

I work mostly as a solo pianist for weddings and although the Nord is quite acceptable for many clients, others ask about hiring a grand or at least something that looks more piano-like. However, when they learn how much a grand costs to hire, they usually shy away from that option.

Therefore, I wondered whether to get an Avant Grand N1 and offer it as a hireable option, for some money but significantly less than an acoustic. Thus I would get a very nice practice instrument and the chance to eventually recoup the investment via revenue.

What I need to know is how easy is it to break down into transportable pieces? I have a Citroen Berlingo van which I'm guessing (need to check exact dimensions) would be able to move the N1 with no problems. I'm also aware that it would be a two person carry, so I would need to pay someone to come with me on these jobs, which of course would have to be factored into the costs. Also would need plenty of blankets and old duvets in the back to protect the instrument. I have webbing and securing rings fitted in the van.

Is this a nuts idea or am I on to something?


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Personally I don't find the N1 design to be visually appealing, except from the players position. Suitable for a funeral perhaps, but not a wedding.

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Aidan Offline OP
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Yeah, that is certainly is a consideration. It would help if you could get it in white!


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I know it's not a shapely thing but I like the way the N1 looks.

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Forget about N1 as a portable piano for gigs, end of story.

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do you think you could get it done with a portfolio DP - like the Yamaha P95 or the Casio Privia 130/330 - with their optional wooden frames/stands? would look better than a metal X or Z stand and probably assembles/disassembles pretty easily.

would seem a lot easier than lugging around a home piano... but you obviously would give up some sound quality- although you could run a sample program such as ivory 2 or vintage D off an ultrabook and you'd have a great sounding, portable rig.

just a thought to save your back wear and tear...






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Originally Posted by Karnevil
Forget about N1 as a portable piano for gigs, end of story.


Why?


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I'd say it's just a transportable as a B-3. You buy a van, ramp, and same dolly set up.

(and a hernia truss)

Last edited by 36251; 07/23/12 10:13 AM.

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Yes, the B3 comparison is very good. But why would you go for a very impractical and expensive solution, considering you're still playing a flawed digital instrument? Anyway, it's up to you... smile

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Originally Posted by Karnevil
Forget about N1 as a portable piano for gigs, end of story.


I don't think it's as cut and dried as that. Some events and parties are highbrow enough that they will pay for the privilege of having a more classy instrument on display. Whilst the N1 doesn't look like a real grand, it does have a nice polished cabinet that befits a classy event. Setting up a slab piano on a folding stand won't cut it at some events. I think the AG could be a viable idea if you can get somebody to help you move it. I doubt that it's that difficult. I reckon I could move an N1 around on my own with the right combination of ramps, blankets and a trolley. I would charge accordingly for the service. I'm a big guy though.

The only concern with the N1 is is it loud enough on its own? Would you need to add some extra amplification. I don't know because I've never played an N1.

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I don't think your argument holds water, as such events would typically be at places were a piano or grand piano are available. How long do you think the N1 would continue to look "nice and polished" if you shipped it around at events like this for a while (never mind the impracticality of doing it by yourself).

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Aidan Offline OP
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Originally Posted by ando
Originally Posted by Karnevil
Forget about N1 as a portable piano for gigs, end of story.


I don't think it's as cut and dried as that. Some events and parties are highbrow enough that they will pay for the privilege of having a more classy instrument on display. Whilst the N1 doesn't look like a real grand, it does have a nice polished cabinet that befits a classy event. Setting up a slab piano on a folding stand won't cut it at some events.


This, basically. I've also considered a grand piano shell but then there's the question of storage, and whether it would look as good anyway, especially with a red Nord nestling inside!



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Aidan Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Karnevil
I don't think your argument holds water, as such events would typically be at places were a piano or grand piano are available. How long do you think the N1 would continue to look "nice and polished" if you shipped it around at events like this for a while (never mind the impracticality of doing it by yourself).


You'd be surprised, actually. Very few places I work at have their own grands (or in the right room). I'm under no illusions that this is anything other than a two-man job, as I mentioned in my initial posting.

As for continuing to look "nice and polished", grand piano hire companies move theirs around all the time with little problem and if one took the same precautions as they do (strapped down with furniture mover's webbing, plenty of blankets and old duvets), I don't see that particularly as an issue.


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I'd have concerns about this idea. Practically speaking, while better looking than a slab and stand, it will fail to impress casual observers the way a grand does. If it doesn't impress, few clients will pay the extra.

Do what the caterer and DJ learned to do. Put a skirt around the table...or in this case, the keyboard stand. You could even make a small shell that comes up loosely around the Nord and makes the red less visible. This is practical, viable, and will keep your home piano from the hazards of the road.

Good luck for whichever you choose for your home.


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Originally Posted by Aidan

However, another thought has struck me...

I work mostly as a solo pianist for weddings and although the Nord is quite acceptable for many clients, others ask about hiring a grand or at least something that looks more piano-like. However, when they learn how much a grand costs to hire, they usually shy away from that option.

Therefore, I wondered whether to get an Avant Grand N1 and offer it as a hireable option, for some money but significantly less than an acoustic. Thus I would get a very nice practice instrument and the chance to eventually recoup the investment via revenue.



You can buy, or build a stage prop called a "piano shell". They are more common then you think. Basically it is a keyboard stand that looks like and acoustic piano.

There are a lot of companies that make these props. Some look good even close up others need to be 50 to 100 feet from an audience. Here are two that I found after a few minutes with Google. The search term is "piano shell"
http://www.grandillusionpianoshells.com/

http://stanfordcustompianoshells.com/

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Originally Posted by ChrisA
Originally Posted by Aidan

However, another thought has struck me...

I work mostly as a solo pianist for weddings and although the Nord is quite acceptable for many clients, others ask about hiring a grand or at least something that looks more piano-like. However, when they learn how much a grand costs to hire, they usually shy away from that option.

Therefore, I wondered whether to get an Avant Grand N1 and offer it as a hireable option, for some money but significantly less than an acoustic. Thus I would get a very nice practice instrument and the chance to eventually recoup the investment via revenue.



You can buy, or build a stage prop called a "piano shell". They are more common then you think. Basically it is a keyboard stand that looks like and acoustic piano.

There are a lot of companies that make these props. Some look good even close up others need to be 50 to 100 feet from an audience. Here are two that I found after a few minutes with Google. The search term is "piano shell"
http://www.grandillusionpianoshells.com/

http://stanfordcustompianoshells.com/


very interesting and very expensive- looks like a couple grand?.

Aidan for the moment can at least make the client decide to "pay" for the upgrade, and if the client says no- he hasn't incurred a cost, unless he loses the gig because of it (doubtful?).... If Aidan buys this shell- he is going to have to figure out how it pays for itself... making it an option for the client doesn't change the fact he had to buy it.. so he might as well work it into his fee structure?

also looks like a LOT of additional work. i would wear your gym clothes to set up before donning your tux..

PS: on the second site- the Micro shell- you think they photoshop'd the woman standing on the piano. hard to fathom it being that sturdy.
i guess it could be a very good investment for the long term...

Last edited by bfb; 07/24/12 09:00 AM.

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To be honest, I can't quite make up my mind whether the shells look good or just cheesy - I'm leaning towards the latter.

As has been observed, the financial justification paths diverge here. If I bought the N1, I'd have a nice piano for practice and the home which I might eventually at least make a few bucks back on, thanks to the hire. If the hire thing doesn't take off, I still have a nice home piano with a grand action.

The shell has no intrinsic value of its own and if it flops as an idea, I'm out a couple of thousand bucks. It would also present challenges for storage as we have a pretty small house and little or no space.

I think first off, I need to see an N1 in the flesh and play the damn thing. I'll report back once I've done so!


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Well, after some heart-searching, I phoned the piano mover yesterday and arranged for the W Hoffmann to come over here. I'm abandoning the N1 idea.

There were a number of reasons behind the decision. Like some here, I didn't manage to utterly convince myself that there was much of a hire market for such an instrument, plus even having a third party moving it in and out of the house would be a PITA and be a potentially routine disturbance to home life.

Secondly, the idea of fronting up over 5k in the current economic climate was not very appealing. I have money in the bank for it, but it's probably best left there at the moment.

Lastly, I'd still only be getting a DP (albeit a very nice one) which will be overtaken by technological advances in a few years. Whereas the W Hoffmann will always be what it is - a very nice upright and perfectly good practice instrument.


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i still think a black yamaha or privia with its own optional wooden laminate stand- midi-controlling Ivory 2 or vintage D from an ultrabook would give the audience something unobtrusive to look at (providing you can minimize and hide the *^$% cables and work the monitors/speakers positions to look "clean")and a very pleasant piano to listen to. The Red Stage 2 on a metal stand - while a much better quality keyboard - well, i can see how its looks out of place as a solo instrument at a wedding or piano-tinkling reception.

the new privia lineup might be good enough sounding on its own to skip the ultrabook/sample program idea...

just something to keep you thinking..good luck!

Last edited by bfb; 07/26/12 11:36 AM.

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