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Want an engineer to make a 49-key weighted action digital keyboard
#692966 05/17/04 09:13 AM
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I travel (fly) a lot for my work and need to take a keyboard with me for practise when I stay in hotels in African cities where there are no pianos. I have a Yamaha P-80 which is about 60" x 13" x 5", which fits in a specially made case by FlyteCase in Canada. The P80 weighs 16.4 kg (about 40 pounds); with the case it's 27 kg. The tactile impression is good (the best approximation to the grand action) and the sound, with headphones, is accurate and bearable, if not pleasurable. The problem is that not all airlines allow a case this large or heavy, it attracts undue attention from rent-seeking customs officials, and doesn't fit into the average taxi.

So I'd like a 49- or 61-key (4-5 octave) weighted action keyboard which would weigh less, take less space and permit me to fly anywhere. At least I'd be able to play Bach that way, and practise scales. But on the market I find that the only weighted action keyboards are 88-key. The 49- and 61-key keyboards are at best pressure-sensitive or velocity-sensitive (viz. do gradations of volume) but, even when they claim to be “semi-weighted” or “synth action”, do not have a hammer action at all. The tactile impression is so far from the grand action that besides being unpleasant it would, I suspect, also waste time in that once back home I'd have to "unlearn" the motions acquired and "relearn" them on my acoustic piano. I have written to all the big manufacturers (Baldwin, Bohemia, Casio, Clavia, FATAR, Generalmusic (GEM), Korg, Kawai, Kurzweil, Samick, Suzuki, Roland, Technics, Viscount and WERSI) and spoken with some, but have had only negative responses.
It is clear that there are many people out there with the same problem – see the following indications on this and other sites:

http://www.pianoworld.com/ubb/ubb/ultimatebb.php?/topic/6/226.html#000004

http://www.pianoworld.com/ubb/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?/topic/1/4221.html

http://www.pianoforum.net/cgi-bin/yabb/YaBB.cgi?board=inst;action=display;num=1084276337

http://www.pianoforum.net/cgi-bin/yabb/YaBB.cgi?board=inst;action=displa y;num=1079199900;start=0

http://www.pianoforum.net/cgi-bin/yabb/YaBB.cgi?board=inst;action=displa y;num=1060003862;start=0

http://www.pianoforum.net/cgi-bin/yabb/YaBB.cgi?board=inst;action=display;num=1080218682

So I'm now searching for an engineer who would be interested in taking apart an instrument with weighted action (e.g. Yamaha P80) and converting it into a 49-key instrument. This might entail using one of the 49-key synths on the market (e.g. Fatar's) and installing Yamaha's keys. Obviously the warranties would be voided but that's not a problem to me. Or maybe there's an engineer out there who has another innovative solution? Or can anyone suggest to me the name of an engineer who might be interested in trying this?


Peter_Godowsky
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Re: Want an engineer to make a 49-key weighted action digital keyboard
#692967 05/17/04 01:58 PM
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There is a need for this, although 49 keys is pretty small. Have you taken apart your P80 and looked inside? I'm curious, myself.


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Re: Want an engineer to make a 49-key weighted action digital keyboard
#692968 05/17/04 11:34 PM
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Yup ..... i've mentioned this on this forum too ..... What I'd really like is a fold up (like a book) 88 key weighed portable keyboard for travelling, but a slightly smaller keyboard would do too. Why can't someone just invent this?

Re: Want an engineer to make a 49-key weighted action digital keyboard
#692969 05/18/04 10:59 AM
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Peter, to address your comments about my "Travel piano" thread in the PF, I couldn't find anything small enough, so what I ended up doing is purchasing a P90. It's pretty big as you know so instead of flying to St. Louis (where I have to spend a month this summer) I am going to drive so I can take the piano. I know this doesn't do you any good since you can't drive to Africa. smile Your idea of modifying a P80 is intriguing. As I asked earlier, have you taken your P80 apart to see inside?


"If we lose freedom here, there's no place to escape to."
MSU - the university of Michigan!
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Re: Want an engineer to make a 49-key weighted action digital keyboard
#692970 05/28/04 11:15 PM
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The minute you add the word "weighted" to the equation, portability is out the window. It isn't a matter of engineering, it's a matter of mass. The unit simply ends up weighing too much to be called portable.

Re: Want an engineer to make a 49-key weighted action digital keyboard
#692971 06/04/04 07:29 AM
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On another site someone suggested the Doepfer SK2000. It's 88 keys but because the case is built in, the total weight is 20 kgs and hence it's smaller than the case for a standard Yamaha P90 or whatever. See the discussion at:

http://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/ultimatebb.php?ubb=get_topic;f=18;t=010483

This is a partial solution. The Doepfer has specs:

20 kgs, 134.2 cm x 26.5 cm x 10.5 cm or:
44 lbs, 52.8 in x 10.4 in x 4.1 in.

Whereas my present setup, a Yamaha P80 with a custom-built case by FlyteCase, has:

16.4 + 13.1 = 29.5 kg, 139 cm x 33 cm x 16.5 cm or:
36 + 29 = 65lbs, 54.8 in x 13 in x 6.5 in.

The Doepfer has an advantage over the P90 in that it has both a sustain and a soft pedal. It has both MIDI out and a headphone jack. I wish I'd known of this (partial) solution earlier.


Peter_Godowsky
Re: Want an engineer to make a 49-key weighted action digital keyboard
#692972 12/01/04 05:44 AM
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My 53-key short-scale Yamaha P-80 weighted-action keyboard arrived last week, in perfect condition. It looks and feels like the Yamaha P-80, just that it is shorter. The length was shortened from 53 inches to 33 1/2 inches. The range is now C (2 octaves below middle C) to e''' (two octaves and a third above middle C). All the controls work exactly as in the original instrument. I'm able to play all my Bach and Handel pieces, many of my Mozart and Haydn pieces, and even Faure's Prelude 8 op. 103. It "feels" a lot lighter and more manipulable: it is now about 23 1/2 pounds, down from the previous 37 pounds. I wonder if this is worth an entry in the Guinness Book of Records?

I'm very grateful to Myk Goldey of Allied Electronics in Dallas, who managed the whole process. The contacts of the firm are 1-800-466-2372 or 214-349-5000, 10870 Plano Road, Suite C, Dallas TX 75243, and the web site is www.audioelectronics.com.

Next is to get a suitable flight case and then I'll be set.

Best wishes,

Peter


Peter_Godowsky
Re: Want an engineer to make a 49-key weighted action digital keyboard
#692973 12/01/04 12:04 PM
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Hi Peter,
Can you tell us how much it cost, for the piano and the modification?

How does it look, did they make a new case for it? Can you post pictures? Thanks, appreciate the information.

Dan


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Why are you reading this? Go play the piano! Why am I writing this? ARGGG!
Re: Want an engineer to make a 49-key weighted action digital keyboard
#692974 12/03/04 06:42 AM
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Cool! Good news, can you post pics?


"If we lose freedom here, there's no place to escape to."
MSU - the university of Michigan!
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Re: Want an engineer to make a 49-key weighted action digital keyboard
#692975 12/03/04 07:40 AM
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I would love to see a photo of that. How much did a job like that cost? I would like a chop down to 76 keys.


Jazz piano Instructor. Technical Editor for Mark Levine's "The Jazz Theory Book". Studied with Mark Levine, Art Lande & Mark Isham (1981-1990). Also: Barry Harris and Monty Alexander (1993-present)
Re: Want an engineer to make a 49-key weighted action digital keyboard
#692976 12/03/04 10:57 AM
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Dear Ritincop, Dan M. and Gryphon,

Here are two pictures.

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]

Regards,

Peter


Peter_Godowsky
Re: Want an engineer to make a 49-key weighted action digital keyboard
#692977 12/03/04 11:04 AM
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Too Cool for School!!!

Really nice.


K

Re: Want an engineer to make a 49-key weighted action digital keyboard
#692978 12/03/04 01:43 PM
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Thanks, that is great!
May I ask how much that chop down job cost?
How many hours did it take? Besides cutting did they have to relocate internal components and rewire it?


Jazz piano Instructor. Technical Editor for Mark Levine's "The Jazz Theory Book". Studied with Mark Levine, Art Lande & Mark Isham (1981-1990). Also: Barry Harris and Monty Alexander (1993-present)
Re: Want an engineer to make a 49-key weighted action digital keyboard
#692979 12/03/04 01:53 PM
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just thinking...if one could get two of them - might be able to reproduce one of those big bosie's with the extra keys...Hm...

K

Re: Want an engineer to make a 49-key weighted action digital keyboard
#692980 12/06/04 05:36 AM
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Quote
Originally posted by rintincop:
Thanks, that is great!
May I ask how much that chop down job cost?
How many hours did it take? Besides cutting did they have to relocate internal components and rewire it?
Dear Ritincop,

They took about 3 months, but were apparently not actually working on it during most of that time. I was in no hurry, so I didn't mind. If I recall they said that engineering work cost $70/hour and non-engineering work cost some $50/hour, and possibly the spread was half-half. From that you could figure out the number of hours.

Regards,


Peter


Peter_Godowsky
Re: Want an engineer to make a 49-key weighted action digital keyboard
#692981 12/06/04 07:48 AM
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So you don't like M-audio's 49-key variant?

Re: Want an engineer to make a 49-key weighted action digital keyboard
#692982 12/07/04 11:34 AM
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it looks cool, and much smaller!

Re: Want an engineer to make a 49-key weighted action digital keyboard
#692983 04/29/07 12:30 PM
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This is so cool! I have a P80 sitting at home in the Philippines that I'm going to take the sawsall to next time I get home. Totally rad, dude! No more freakouts from the customs sharks!

Craig thumb


NY Steinway A 2005; Roland FP-7F/ FP-4
Re: Want an engineer to make a 49-key weighted action digital keyboard
#692984 04/30/07 10:24 AM
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But this cost something like 5000.00 to
10,000.00? I personally am skeptical
of value of such an item at this
price. I have been playing for many
yrs. now, but during that time I've
had many long periods (20 yrs., 5 yrs.,
3 yrs., 1 yr., etc.) when I gave up
playing and thought I would never play
again. But each time that I restarted
I found that I could quickly get back
into it and, what's more, that my
playing had actually improved. Thus,
I personally see no problem with not
playing for a time, be it a few days,
a few weeks, a few months, or a few years.
Each time you restart you should find
that the absence has actually be beneficial
and the you've gained from it.

Re: Want an engineer to make a 49-key weighted action digital keyboard
#692985 04/30/07 11:29 AM
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The dude obviously has some serious ca$h to burn...

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