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Restoring and MIDI-fying a Baby Grand Piano #MIDI #Automation #Music @jmattheij

Jacques Mattheij painstakingly restored a Zimmerman baby grand piano, and then decides to add MIDI out to it.

At this point in time I spent a few weeks just playing it and then decided I wanted to ‘MIDI-fy’ the piano to allow me to run Pianobooster on it, a FOSS piece of software that helps you to study playing. Another advert on marktplaats (the local Ebay equivalent) and I had contact with an Amsterdam based piano trader that had a whole Yamaha Disklavier unit lying around gathering dust. Disklavier is something quite special, it is a solution that Yamaha developed to enable their instruments to have MIDI in and out, it is a super expensive option (10K or thereabouts) and the smallest grand that has it sells for 25K!

This is what the (very old, 1986 or so) Yamaha controller looks like, it is called the Wagon for a reason:

And this is the solenoid bar as made by Yamaha:

After endless measuring and marking I decided to create a completely new bar from scratch, there was no way that the old bar could be repurposed.

And building a new bar full of solenoids to strike the strings – a major undertaking.

There is a lot of material involved, each key has a solenoid, a pushrod, needs a hole drilled, a key to be covered with felt and so on. This made the whole project quite time consuming. And if you get something wrong then you are going to have to fix your mistake as many times as you have keys…

See the video below and the detailed post here.


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