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Joined: Jun 2013
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If you're a yamaha dealer, feel free to PM me a quote or even just an approximation. it's not something I'm just seeing advertised in google searches probably because it isn't ordered that often, lol.

Basically, I want a 'hybrid' digital piano but I don't want to spend $10k on a yamaha hybrid. I'm not really into the aesthetic style of their hybrids, anyway.
I'm wondering if I can just straight-up order a full yamaha keybed: keys, whippens, and all, along with their SH2 'silent piano' sensor system to make it a midi controller. What would that cost?
Then, slide that into an antique square grand (I love rosewood), chucking the original iron plate and the original obsolete action, with some adjustments made as needed since the yamaha action isn't going to be an exact fit, of course. Since the strings would be absent, I wouldn't need the bar to interrupt the hammers. But, I would be installing a plate at the height of the strings so the hammers still had something to hit and bounce off of.

What do you think? As with all things, easier said than done, but with some moderate woodworking skills this seems perfectly doable. One major unknown is, just whether I can buy the whole action and how much that would run me. If it goes to $5,000 then it's pretty hard to justify, if it's $2500 then I'm pretty well sold: I consider it a bargain for a true grand-feel hybrid in exactly the aesthetic that I want.

Steinway also has their 'spirio r' but since cost is a question, I doubt it's even worth bothering to ask what that must cost. Also-- ALL I want is a midi controller, that's it. The spirio r includes solenoids to act as a player piano, an enormous layer of complexity that must add quite a bit of cost for a feature I have no need for.
I've got speakers, I've got a soundcard and a desktop. Even the SH2 comes with a processor and sound sample library (I think largely generated rather than sampled), which I don't need but don't think it would be a separable option either.

Another option is working on my own from scratch-- it's been done by others. It would be a really fun project, I'll try it out on a single key and an arduino, and I have no illusions: I estimate 6-12 months for a satisfactory build. There appear to be other midi-conversion systems but none as integrated as the sh2 or spirio r that I can find. that is to say, I'm uninterested in a bar that sits awkwardly in front of the fallboard to read key velocities from the top of the keys.

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Not sure if anybody has PM'ed you, but I suspect no. Many of us in the digital forum have been in that quest. This is what I learned is possible:

1) hire a technician to basically build an action from scratch, with parts from your favorite brand (I believe Yamaha and Kawai sell them only for repairs of their instruments, but there are plenty of other fine action manufacturers such as Tokiwa or WNG which will happily sell to the technician for any reason, like this one). Cost: more than your $5000, probably WAY more.

2) buy a action premade for an inexpensive grand (there are some grand pianos that retail for way less than $10,000 including shipping and dealer's profit). These actions are not for sale in general, but I am told that there are a couple of Chinese companies which would sell one to you if you ask, and the price will be well within your budget. However none of them speak a word of any language besides Chinese, shipping is long and expensive, and you still need a technician to regulate it. No warranty, no nothing, so it could be throwing money, time and hope down the toilet. It could also be perfectly fine and even fantastic, but I am not a gambler so, I did not pursue this option further

3) buy a craigslist piano, perhaps with badly cracked soundboard, cracked plate, or useless pinblock -- but fine (or fine after regulating) action. Explain your motivation to a technician and have him/her inspect the piano before purchasing (cost of inspection: about $100). Once you find the right instrument, keep the action and dump the rest. Total cost (including movers, dump fees, etc) most likely under $1000, excluding regulation which will depend on the exact condition of the action. All people I know, including myself have taken this choice.

Once you get the action, Yamaha will NOT sell you the SH2, however you'll have choice between QRS and PianoDisc for an "let the technician install it and be done with it project". If you are a DIY'er, look for posts about Jay's piano conversion, Cybergene's Cybrid and a couple of other projects along these lines in the digital piano forum -- which you should consult anyway for this project.

Best of luck!

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PS: after either of these option, your "slide the action into your antique square piano" still applies and its difficulty is the same as with a "naked" SH2. Or probably less, since you can be picky with what you get, so that the geometry is to your favor. Whereas with a Yamaha's SH your action could have too long or too short keysticks, most likely the whole action will be too wide, and probably also too tall for the action cavity of the antique square

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Yamaha does not sell only the sh2 key sensor unit.
A retrofit silent unit for upright pianos is on sale, so why not use it?
Please check the URL below for unit details.

https://goo.gl/photos/uR1awNRu2e3SbAXu6


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Originally Posted by Pro-TAC
Yamaha does not sell only the sh2 key sensor unit.
A retrofit silent unit for upright pianos is on sale, so why not use it?
Please check the URL below for unit details.

https://goo.gl/photos/uR1awNRu2e3SbAXu6

Very interesting. I could not find information for it besides in Japanese. Do you (or any one else) know if it's available outside of Japan?

Thanks for sharing it!!!

Last edited by Del Vento; 06/21/21 09:33 AM.
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For unknown reasons, Yamaha does not sell retrofit Silent unit outside of Japan.
In the past, there was also a retrofit Disklavier unit.
If you wish, I can deliver a retrofit silent unit.


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Originally Posted by Pro-TAC
For unknown reasons, Yamaha does not sell retrofit Silent unit outside of Japan.
Perhaps the market of hybrid digital pianos is too profitable and they don't want to cannibalize that.

Originally Posted by Pro-TAC
If you wish, I can deliver a retrofit silent unit.

Thank you.

As I wrote, I went already ahead with another avenue for myself (option 3 above), however I often interact with other people who would like an easier avenue and this can be it -- in such a case I will refer them to you.

I am sure if you post that availability on the digital piano forum here on piano world, many people will be interested, and some, perhaps even many, may purchase it from you (depending on the actual price, logistics and cost of shipment and difficulty of installation).

Cheers

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Thank you both-- I just tuned back in and saw all the wonderful replies smile
Man, choices choices. Pro-TAC-- very interested, i'll PM you out of respect for keeping business out of the public forums.
I'd be looking for the grand version, but, if they sell it in parts I don't actually need the entire system. Due to the fact that I'm going to be gutting the actual acoustic bits I don't need the mechanism that stops the hammers if that saves any money. It certainly saves complexity of install, anyway. I'd need the logic board and I'd need the sensor bed and key sensors still.

Del Vento, I admit ignorance that when I embarked on this brainstorming project idea I didn't even realize the square grands were 3 keys short, lol. actually, I didn't even know square grands were a thing until I saw them. absolutely beautiful, and absolutely outmoded with zero market value. Not to mention the width of the keys themselves might not be standard. anything can be done to make it all fit.. but that does not mean anything is worth it.

One option because I want the 'real grand action' is an ampico player piano. Mainly, only because they came with doubled legs in the front, which means if I truncate a player grand it'll still stand on its own four feet.
I can remove the plate and pinblock and cut the entire case off behind the action, the footprint of an upright, weight of a digital (well, more, but not atrocious) and with grand piano action, and a modern keybed width. And that, ought to support the SH2, as a modern-convention keybed.


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