Thursday, 27 June 2013

The Willson and Kempe Semigrand Story - Part 3

We start construction


Willson & Kempe Semigrand Grand Piano Shell

Now the real fun begins, a workshop is found which is in fact an unheated double garage loaned to us by a friendly neighbour, Robin dons his thermal underwear and sets to work!

The Semigrand in the Library at Wakehurst Place
The first problem is how to make the piano so that it comes apart in small enough pieces to load into a car and, along with a digital keyboard, can be taken to site, erected and played.

The decision is made to make a 'front box' and a 'back box'. The front box will house the digital keyboard, and the back box is the curvy bit that makes the unit look like a grand piano. We then put on three legs and a piano lid which can be raised to enhance the grand piano effect, and away we go!

The Semigrand can be played anywhere
even outdoors!

Another important issue is the weight of the unit. There are websites that show how people can take all the action and the metal string frame out of an old grand piano, and you then have a ready made piano shell to house a keyboard. This will present two problems to the gigging pianist, one is that even with the action and the metal frame that holds the strings on a real piano are taken out, the resulting shell is still really very heavy and will need at least two people to shift it. Also, the unit does not readily convert to a collapsible unit to carry to a gig in an ordinary car. How did we solve that? The story continues in part 4.
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