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#1968411 10/03/12 08:54 PM
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I'm playing tomorrow night at our local college. They have have just signed on to the "Steinway Initiative" ( great marketing ! ) and have moved one of their older small S. grands to the room where I'll be performing in a quartet setting.
This piano has seen a lot of playing but not much maintenance ! It's not bad. It's just not good. It's more or less kinda in tune. It's a bit dull sounding. It doesn't sound anywhere near as good as my Baldwin at home. In particular, I would actually rather play my Nord for this gig !
Plan A : Drop a condenser mic near the strings and get a little more sound out of it. I think this will work. People will be eating & drinking. It will be ok.
Plan B : The Nord will be in the van just in case. But who would turn down a chance to play a Steinway ? And I sure do want to be a friend of the college !


Baldwin L - Rhodes 73
Yamaha P250 - Nord NP88
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Steinway Acoustic piano, every time.


Employed by Kawai Japan, however the opinions I express are my own.
Nord Electro 3 & occasional rare groove player.
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I was in a similar predicament this past Saturday night. I was doing a function where the party requested I use the house Steinway. I think it was around 5' 10" maybe smaller..so whatever that model is.

It was older, maybe the '60s ? The piano wasn't all that well in tune but the regulation was decent enough. All the notes played, nothing sticking.

They had it on one of those piano dollies though and the height wasn't right when you tried to use the sustain pedal. Plus something really weird was going on with the sustain pedal and dampers. I stuck a Sennheiser E945 in the middle hole with a linen napkin underneath and in the trio it sounded pretty decent.

I had played the cocktail hour with the NP2 on the patio so I went ahead and schlepped that in. I set it up in an "L" position thinking I'd use it mainly for EP or if the Steinway started to bug me. Actually though playing the acoustic was cool and I think I used the Nord for EPs only once or twice in 3 sets on some Jobim tunes for contrast.

Even though it was a pretty lame piano, when it was miced up and playing in the trio or comping behind the Tenor it was preferable to the Nord. The acoustic just sounded thicker and fuller.

Every piano and gigging situation, even with a Steinway is different. So as they say...ymmv. Good luck with it.


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I agree with James and Dave, but I don't always practice what I preach. Our band has a regular gig at a club where there's a Yamaha Grand. It's not always perfectly in tune and the action's a little stodgy. Sometimes I prefer to play electric so that I can readily add in EP or organ sounds (the acoustic is tucked in a corner with no space around it for other boards), and because its "easier." However, feedback from the audience indicates that they love it when I play acoustic; from their perspective it just sounds fuller and richer than any of my DPs.

When I play the Yamaha I tuck a condenser mic inside. Even so, if the other guys play too loud it can be difficult to hear myself, and I have to be conscious of not pounding the keys.

We've a gig coming up there in a couple of weeks and with our guitarist absent due to an injury, the bass player has suggested he play upright and I play the grand. It makes sense to do the show that way as it will sound more intimate - and we've recently added a bunch of jazz standards to our set list. Because I don't have an acoustic at home for practice, I have to fight the urge to stick with the familiar. But I know that I should take every opportunity to play "the real thing" when I can, and that, despite its shortcomings, it's still a way more expressive instrument than anything I own.

Good luck with the college gig, jazzonebyone!


"you don't need to have been a rabbit in order to become a veterinarian"

mabraman, 2015
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I set up this afternoon - the piano sounds much better with a Rode NT-1 stuck down in it. The bass player will be using a Stagg upright, so we'll look classy, too!
Thanks for your comments.
Al


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Matching threads?

James
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I did a gig last week, a repeat of a gig at the same place about two months prior. Nice Young Chang baby grand. Was looking forward to it all week. I don't know who has been playing that piano in the past two months but man it had taken a pounding - the A below middle C just didn't have the strenght to push all the up - and it could sure have used a tuning...but it is what it is and you just deal with it.

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Matching threads, of course !
This was a fun gig -the piano setup sounded pretty good, and the college has promised to tune it for next time !
If I could only figure out a way to score a gig on one of their 9 footers ......


Baldwin L - Rhodes 73
Yamaha P250 - Nord NP88

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