If you were a pianist with a few extra bucks to spare and a taste for the extraordinary, you’d want to purchase a piano that not only sounds good, but also makes a statement with its individuality. In this article, we introduce 10 super cool pianos, with out-of-this-world wacky designs, unparalleled elegance, and mind-blowing concepts. These are works of art that you might aspire to own one day.
1) Yoshiki’s Kawai CR-40A Crystal Piano
It’s no exaggeration for Japanese piano manufacturer Kawai to claim that its transparent CR40-A grand pianos adorn every room with unsurpassed beauty and are deserving to be called works of art. The pianos even come with matching crystal benches, white cushions, and transparent legs. The CR40-A is sure to complement any room with a zen or minimalist theme.
It does come with a moderately hefty price tag, at 6720000 JPY (approx. 61000 USD) on Rakuten Global. It probably costs as much to ship it to your home if you don’t live in Japan.
Think it might be cheaper to buy a second-hand model? Not if it belonged to a star! In order to raise funds for the 2011 Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami relief efforts, Yoshiki (pianist and drummer from X Japan, a pioneer of the visual kei subculture) allegedly auctioned off his custom-made CR40-A (basically the same piano with his name engraved on it) for a whopping 20 million USD.
2) Steinway’s The Imagine Series: a beautiful tribute to John Lennon
To commemorate John Lennon’s 70th birthday, the American-German piano company Steinway released a range of specially designed pianos, aptly titled “The Imagine Series,” named after Lennon’s best-selling single.
The series features 7 different pianos, each incorporating one of Lennon’s unique drawings. All of them have white-based designs, mirroring the white Steinway that Lennon presented to his wife Yoko Ono on her birthday in 1971. The inside of each piano is adorned with the quote “You may say I’m a dreamer,” the first line of the chorus in his song “Imagine.” The piano pictured above, “Borrowed Time,” has a sketch of Lennon playing an upright piano.
The series is available in both upright and grand pianos. There were only 25 pianos of each design produced, so there are only 175 of these pianos in the world. No official information about pricing has been released, but fans believe that the pianos start from 90000 USD.
3) Prince’s Custom Purple Yamaha C7Z Grand Piano
A reflection of Prince’s showmanship, this grand piano is colored in a flamboyant shade of purple with equally striking gold trimmings. Shortly before his death, Prince commissioned Japanese piano manufacturer Yamaha to create a piano in a very specific shade of purple (supposedly to match his couch). He communicated enthusiastically with Yamaha exactly how he wanted the piano to be, even dictating how he wanted the bench to be designed.
The result? A gorgeous hybrid grand piano suited for one of history’s most charismatic entertainers, programmed with sounds customized just for him. Prince was reportedly very satisfied with his new toy, sharing his joy on Twitter even before Yamaha could publicize their recent venture.
Unfortunately, Prince passed away shortly after receiving the piano, before he could go on tour with it. According to TMZ, the 200000 USD piano is still located at Prince’s Paisley Park residence and is still owned by Yamaha. While a chance to buy this piano is unlikely in the near future, what’s stopping you from requesting for a custom-made piano to match your favorite couch?
4) Bosendorfer Swarovski Piano
A grand piano may be a symbol of opulence, but Austrian manufacturer Bosendorfer takes it up a notch by collaborating with Swarovski to design a crystal-studded piano, with 8000 hand-cut crystals.
Nothing much else to say here, except that it’s a worthy choice if you wish to flaunt a 1.2 million EUR piano.
5) Liberace’s Baldwin Rhinestone Piano
If 8000 hand-cut Swarovski crystals aren’t enough already, how about 88888 Swarovski rhinestones? Baldwin did exactly that for famed pianist Liberace, whose repute of lavishness matched that of his prodigious skill. Nothing screams of fabulousness more than a piano entirely covered by rhinestones.
Apart from being exceedingly fabulous, the rhinestones (probably unintentionally) served some practical purpose in protecting the piano. When a snowstorm caused the roof of the piano shop which housed the piano to cave in, the rhinestone-protected piano was retrieved unscathed. That must have been a massive relief for the store’s owners, because the piano is worth around 500000 USD.
6) Piano Arc’s Brock 360: that circular keyboard in Lady Gaga concerts
Some musically inclined “little monsters” of Lady Gaga have taken great fancy to the circular keyboard featured in some of her performances. Turns out that it’s invented by the very person who plays it during her concerts.
Brockett Parsons, lead keyboardist for Lady Gaga, felt that a dull synthesiser couldn’t match up with the other outrageous aspects of Lady Gaga’s performances, so he decided to create a circular keyboard for the fun of it. With 288 keys, this monster of a piano has been kept surprisingly easy to play by having the dimensions at which the black and white keys intersect consistent with ordinary acoustic pianos.
Parsons has even set up a company, Piano Arc, with some savvy business partners and is selling his invention to anyone who’s willing to pay for it. The price for his donut shaped keyboard? While no official figures have been released, his website says that it’s around the price of a good quality grand piano.
7） “Grand Pianist” by SEGA Toys: the smallest piano ever?
Created by the Japanese video game company SEGA, this 25cm digital piano has 88 keys and sounds more than decent. If your fingers aren’t tiny enough, the piano comes preloaded with 100 songs and has expandable memory in case you want to play more songs. As the piano plays, the corresponding keys move.
At a fraction of the usual size of a piano, this piano is also retailed at a fraction of the prices of the other pianos featured here. You can get a brand new set at 630 USD on eBay.
8） Schimmel Pegasus
With its unparalleled elegance, the Schimmel Pegasus looks like the piano a celestial being would play while drifting along the heavens.
It’s ergonomically designed as well, with keys that have a slight curvature for comfortable playing. Apart from that, it has an electronically controlled hydraulic lid to control the sound projection and a fully integrated stool that is adjustable in terms of width, height, and distance from the keys.
There are only 14 of these in the world, owned by stars such as Lenny Kravitz, Eddie Murphy, and yes, Prince. Prices would depend on who’s selling it, so expect to pay a huge premium if it was pre-loved by an international superstar.
9. Audi Bosendorfer Piano
To celebrate 100 years of Audi, the Audi automotive design team collaborated with Bosendorfer to create a sleek grand piano. While the traditional shape of the grand piano was preserved to maintain sound integrity, the Audi team undertook logical decisions to modify aspects of the grand piano, such as introducing a one-piece lid that extends seamlessly all the way to the base of the piano, as well as concealed hinges above the keyboard.
This beautiful piano is a culmination of both tradition and innovation, which seems to be Audi’s design philosophy in its cars. It’s priced at around 140000 USD, which isn’t too far off from the prices of Audi’s more premium cars.
10) Yamaha “Key Between People”
Imposing and well, grand, the grand piano tends to lack intimacy. The grand piano and its player are usually admired from afar. To remedy this, designer Yves Plattard and Yamaha worked together to create an ingenious piano that would foster a warmer performance environment.
Shaped like a table, this digital grand piano makes it possible for family and friends to sit around the pianist while he performs. The curved edges of the table are designed such that every person sitting at the table can feel close to the pianist.
Unfortunately, this piano is merely a prototype and isn’t available for sale. But if Prince could get his hands on a custom-made piano tailored to his favorite shade of purple, what’s stopping you from requesting for Yamaha to manufacture a piano just for you?
Are these pianos really worth their hefty price tag? Let us know what you think and which piano you’d really want to own in the comments section below!
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Crozier, Shawn. (2008, May 20). “A Humble Grand?” Yanko Design. http://www.yankodesign.com/2008/05/20/a-humble-grand/
Diaz, Jesus. (2008, March 05). “Schimmel Pegasus Grand Piano Could Probably Travel Through Time and Space.” Gizmodo. http://gizmodo.com/364193/schimmel-pegasus-grand-piano-could-probably-travel-through-time-and-space
Dovas. (2015). “Lady Gaga’s Lead Keyboardist Invents 360° Keyboard With 294 Keys.” boredpanda.http://www.boredpanda.com/piano-arc-circular-keyboard-brockett-parsons/
Galerija Retro Piano. “Exclusive Grand Pianos.” http://retropiano.lv/en/fligeli/exclusivs
Gist Piano Center. (2017). “John Lennon Steinway Limited Edition Piano Series.” http://www.gistpianocenter.com/pianos/steinway/john-lennon-steinway.php
Joseph, Noah. (2009, July 07). “High Performance: Audi Designs a €100,000 Bosendorfer Piano to Celebrate Centenary.” Autoblog. https://www.autoblog.com/2009/07/07/high-performance-audi-designs-a-bosendorfer-piano-to-celebrate/#slide-342705
Paulin, Benjamin. (2015, February 11). “Piano Owned by Liberace Unharmed in Rockland Roof Collapse.” WCVB. http://www.wcvb.com/article/piano-owned-by-liberace-unharmed-in-rockland-roof-collapse/8216918
TMZ. (2016, April 29). “Prince Came So Close to Becoming the Purple Piano Man.” http://www.tmz.com/2016/04/29/prince-yamaha-piano-endorsement/
White, Charlie. (2007, April 18). “Tiny Sega Toys Miniature Grand Piano, For a Little Night Music.” http://gizmodo.com/253253/tiny-sega-toys-miniature-grand-piano-for-a-little-night-music
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