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I din't listen to the video but I can comment on what EJ is currently using at least at his vegas show.
I've been backstage at the Million Dollar Piano show and Elton's keyboard tech is a client of ours. On the MDP show, while the MDP piano is a fully functioning Yamaha CF model, all the house and monitor sound is purely digital. There is no attempt to mix acoustic sound in with the digital. I believe this is the same for all his big hall shows with regard to acoustic sounds but I won't swear I know it's true except that I know that he uses the same rack set-up I describe all over the world. He has four identical set-up and pianos (minus the video screens) parked in storage. Two in the US, one in the UK and one on the continent. The digital sound is a mix of Roland MKS-20 and Yamaha Motifs. I want to say they were ES models but again, I can't swear to it. Elton doesn't like IEM's and monitors with wedges set into the deck at a fairly high volume. According to his tech, getting a mic'ed up piano loud enough without feedback would require such drastic EQ that it would be much worse than the digital piano sound they are able to get.
There are multiple units of each type in the rack both for layering and for preloading the up-coming patch which is done manually, that is, while MIDI patch control is used, no type of sequenced show control is. His tech is at the rack in monitor world pressing buttons.
********************************************************************************************************** Co-owner (by marriage) and part time customer service rep at an electronic musical equipment repair shop.
The answer is contained in a couple of posts above -
But the PRINCIPLE tonality of the piano is Roland RD1000/MKS-20. Reinforcement comes from Yamaha Power Grand and one or two other sources that form a very small part of the overall sound. The Roland sound is modelled, not sampled and that makes it extremely expressive and satisfying for him to play but the Roland sound lacks tonal accuracy to a real piano and is very metallic sounding when played hard. In addition to that it lacks some definition and clarity and this is where the Yamaha Power Grand sound comes in as it cuts through an electric band like no other digital piano sound and gives exceptional clarity. Even in the hardest rock numbers the piano comes through very articulately, which is unusual in rock music. In my opinion this is the reason Elton has stuck with this set up despite the fact it really doesn't sound very natural. Personally I would like to hear a more organic sounding piano, especially during ballads.
The sound pressure from the monitors at Elton's head during live shows has been measured at 120db and so as stated above the task of getting a true acoustic piano to give enough signal before feedback is too much hassle - his vocal mic is also very difficult because he likes his monitors incredibly loud.
Last night during Yamaha's 125th anniversary concert Elton thanked Yamaha for the great support they give him and other artists, especially up-and-coming artists. He went on to say that earlier in his career he had used a very famous American piano but the manufacturer (which we all know is Steinway) "didn't give a sh*t".
If Lady Gaga can play a Roland V-Piano Grand (as she did in England recently) successfully - and make it sound like a real piano, why doesn't Elton just paint 'Yamaha' over one (or put a Yammy case over a V-Piano slab) and please both his sponsor and his discerning audience at the same time?
He can even make the V sound as odd as he wants, if that's what he's after....
"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
For most of the 125th Anniversary concert, the featured piano was a Yamaha C7. It sounded mic'd. For Elton John, they rolled out the CFIIIS setup. There was a pile of plugs coming out of it. Part of that was for their "remote live" broadcast to disklavier owners. I don't know how to describe the sound fully as there was a lot going on. There was different mixed instrumentation for different parts of the keyboard.
I would have preferred an acoustic piano sound for his song selections of the night, but I certainly enjoyed being there.
I've been to a number of EJ concerts and the piano sound does alter slightly from song to song. For instance, Funeral For A Friend has a "growlier" piano sound than some of the ballads. I can't stand that Roland MKS20/RD1000 module. You'd think with the quality of samples and the newer modelled sounds which Yamaha have come out with he could get a nicer, richer, sound than that.
I saw a clip of him playing piano with Ed Sheeran. Looks like he played an AvantGrand - but even that sounded thin and tinny.
I wouldn't be averse to him going back to using Helpinstill pickups - no mic feedback problems and the sound could surely be EQ'd/processed better thesedays than in the 80s when he last used them to make it cut through the band. At least then we'd be getting the real sound from the strings.
He should look himself up on youtube when he did the MTV Unplugged set. Steinway with the lid off, mic'd up. One lovely sounding piano.
It's called a Stage Shell in the business. Slam Grand makes a pretty good one which is what that is. We make them as well. I doubt it is a stripped out real grand because width is an issue with keyboards that are put into them. We have to build them standard at a 60 inch keyboard tray width so the piano needs to be like 64 inches wide so the keycover closes over the keyboard. Naturally they will look weird if they are not long enough and will be wider than longer
Many, many pianos get destroyed by people who strip everything out only to find out their Roland which is 58 inches wide wont fit in some old baby grand cabinet that is 54 inches wide, then the whole thing is too tall ( playing height) all of this has to be dropped .
Antique ex uprights are a little different because they can be stretched laterally. We are currently working on an 1893 Kranich for Lincoln Brewster which will be stretched 5 inches for the Roland FP-7F.
Lots of churches these days are mostly buying digital and having them put in grand shells for the look without the tuning expense.
J. Christie Nashville Piano Rescue www.NashvillePianoRescue.com East Nashville Bowling Green, KY Scottsville KY. Chamber of Commerce Member/Sponsor
Putting inspiration in the hands of area musicians Through restoration/renovation
Yes I saw that picture. Amazing when you think about it. He is the only top name artist working to this extent - year in, year out. 100+ shows every year. Seven 9 foot Yamahas strategically placed around the globe for the touring 'machine' to grind ever onwards. A one man industry quietly "taking care of business" as Elvis might have said.
Oh, to own just one of those beauties (and the house to accommodate such a thing)....sigh....