DIY Piano Shell

How To Make A Piano Shell Stand For Your Keyboard

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Have you ever been to a concert and wondered, how does that band bring a real piano with them on tour? While some people will tour with actual acoustic pianos, most people don’t. What they do is, take a piano ( it could be an upright, a baby grand or even a grand piano) and then they hollow it out. Once they hollow it out, they place a keyboard inside of it.

So, why do people do this? Mainly, because touring is not easy and pianos can be quite heavy. You can read more about the weight of pianos in this in-depth article I did on pianos here.

Note: The piano used for this was donated to us from our good friend.

When touring and gigging with a piano shell, you can actually save space on stage if you have multiple keyboards. You can easily place a keyboard on top of your stand and have one in the main spot. One thing that was done with my piano shell, with great help from bandmates was adding on to what the piano already had.

For example, they were able to add USB ports and they were also to add on new legs and brand new wheels with casters. You will see the process of doing this below. A piano shell was something that I had wanted for a long time, but it never seemed realistic, until one day the singer/guitarist in the band got an old upright piano and hollowed it out.

From there, our drummer was able to add power inside the shell, USB ports on the outside, new legs, new wheels, and a brand new paint job. This thing looked brand new when completed and I was very grateful to have this.

Here are the steps with pictures below.

Creating A Piano Shell For Your Keyboards

Rip Out All Of The Strings & Metal Plate

The guitarist and singer in the band I play in was able to remove all of the strings and metal plate all on his own. This process took him a while, but it was great when it was completed.

Proceed with caution when doing this and watch a lot of tutorials on Youtube prior as this can be dangerous.

Once the strings are out, you can then dive into the next phase.

Sand Down The Piano

Piano Shell For Digital Piano

Sand down the piano completely before painting it. This picture shows it with a coat of paint. Once you sand it down, you will want to measure the inside and get the dimensions of your keyboard. You don’t want a ton of extra space inside of the piano, so you may want to to build it out more inside so it’s a tighter fit.

DIY Piano Shell

Figure Out The Height You Want

If you’re planning on sitting at the piano, you should be fine to not have to make it taller. If you want to stand as I do, you will need to add some height to it. Depending on the height of your digital piano or keyboard, you may want to adjust accordingly.

Painted Piano Shell
Note: My good friend and his dad are great when it comes to working building things out. They were able to build, paint, and add on to this piano shell. Everything that is painted black is what was added on. Keep this in mind when viewing more photos.

DIY Acoustic Piano Stand
The silver plates on the side are where the USB ports were added. These held up for over 4 years of use. On the inside, there is are also quad power boxes so I can plug in my power. This is great as it leads to having all of your cables contained and not in danger of getting ripped out.

Note: The top lifts up and allows me to get inside to plug everything in. The wallplates on the side were ordered from Amazon. You can get them through this link here.

Piano Stand Shell
Everything that is black has been added to the piano. The legs were also added because the old legs were in horrible condition as the piano was quite old.
Piano Shell With Externals
As you can see, there are power cords and instrument cables that were mounted inside of this piano shell. This piano shell got a lot of compliments as it was extremely well thought out by everyone who had created it for me. The wheels that were added worked flawlessly for about 3 years.
Piano Shell For Digital Pianos
I originally had a Roland Fantom G8 inside of this shell. This is a fantastic keyboard, however, it’s very heavy and I replaced it with a Roland FA 08, which is only about 35 pounds.
Piano Shell Stand
Before it was painted.
Piano Shell With Lights
Once it was painted, LED lighted were added inside.
Piano Shell For Live Music
The Piano shell in live-action.

How Much Does A Piano Shell Weigh

The majority of the weight comes from the metal plate and the strings that are inside. I would say our shell weighed about 75 pounds when all was said and done. It also has heavy-duty wheels that worked extremely well. When you a keyboard in it will weigh between 110 and 150 pounds depending on the weight of your keyboards.

Ease Of Use

At first sight, this looks like it is a beast, however, it usually leads to fast change over times and all we had to do was wheel it out of sight or off the stage. If you have a bunch of keyboards on different stands, you actually take up more space than this shell. You also will have zero cables running all over the stage.

Other Bands Who Use Piano Shells

  • The Killers
  • twenty one pilots
  • Andrew Mcmahon

Check out these articles below that I have written as I feel that you’ll find some of them interesting.

Conclusion

This can be done in many different ways. Take your time and have a great time with your finished piano shell. Leave a comment with a picture if you have done the same or wish to.

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