Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Semigrand blog No 2 - The start of the action!

The Semigrand at Wakehurst Place

So the scene was set. Robin was tasked to see if could put together a piano shell that looked exactly like a grand piano but was able to be dismantled so that it could be fitted into an estate car, or even a large hatchback.

Now was the time to do some  research. Extensive viewing of the net revealed that there were some awful attempts to make a grand piano shell on the cheap. Some obvious users were the Elton John tribute artists who really needed a grand piano for their acts, but had made some ghastly attempts to make a grand piano shell. Some looked like they had been made of cardboard and others had a squared off shape at the back of the shell which gave the appearance of an eighteenth century harpsichord!

So one of the first problems was to make a convincing curve at the end of the grand piano shape. This curve actually defines, in my view, the essence of the grand piano. When making a real grand piano, the frame is actually made out of  many layered quality plywood, which is steamed and bent around a grand piano shaped former.
Peter at the Semigrand
Wedding Fair at Burgess Hill
Peter as a pianist and one that is interested in how pianos are put together, had collected a lot of pictures of pianos over the years and so Robin and I studied them in some detail. Peter even sent him down to the local piano supplier to look at how real grand pianos were made! Plans were now drawn up by Robin, and we'll see the start of the construction of the first Willson & Kempe Semigrand grand piano shell in the next blog!
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