Originally uploaded by Dan Bailiff.
I was so close to buying a new piano last week. But I happened to make one last check on craigslist for a piano I've been searching for for the last year or so. Lo and behold, there was the object of my quest, in amazing condition, a mere 8 miles from my home. I went to see it in person and could not have been more impressed with its condition. I made arrangements that night to pay the guy as soon as possible (thanks Dad!) and picked it up the next day. You can follow the link in the pic above for more pics.
The Yamaha CP70 is a stage piano that was sold in the late 70's and early 80's. It was used primarily for concerts and tours where a full size piano was too impractical. It would be years before synthesizers could replace these, but they were eventually obsoleted. Finding one without battle scars (like this one) from constant touring is a rare thing indeed. The reason why it is considered "portable" is because the piano disassembles into two halves. The bottom half holds the keys and hammers, and the top half holds the harp section and electronics. The top half is slightly heavier than the bottom half at around 110lbs. This is manageable by two people but not something I'd want to move solo.
The piano is like an acoustic electric guitar, in that it plays real strings but uses electronics to pick up the acoustic sounds. Instead of a mic or two, each string has a piezo pickup kind of like an electric guitar. The sound is definitely like a real piano. The strings are much shorter than even console pianos, but the electronics make up for the loss of volume and sustain. It's no baby grand, but you can't put a baby grand in your van and take it to a show.
I'm getting it tuned this Thursday, and according to what I've read, it should hold its tune fairly well even after being moved, as long as the harp section isn't subjected to a lot of banging around or vibration. It hasn't been tuned in over 3 years, so it sounds rather twangy at the moment.
You've probably heard this piano without realizing it. The band "Keane" currently uses this piano in all their songs on the debut album. U2 featured the piano in several of their songs, most prominently in "New Years Day".