American manufacturers of alternatively sized keyboards
Currently, David Steinbuhler in Pennsylvania (USA) is the only manufacturer with many years experience with 5.5 inch octave (approx 7/8) keyboards (DS5.5®) and 5.1 inch (DS5.1®) for upright and grand pianos. David, and his grandson Alex, also make 6.0 inch octave (DS6.0®; approx 15/16) keyboards. In the case of keyboards for retrofitting grand pianos, careful measurements of the particular piano are required. They can be supplied with a new alternative action to allow for easy interchangeability or mounted on the old action. During 2018 the former Steinbuhler & Company was converted to a non-profit Foundation, the DS Standard Foundation Inc. (http://dsstandardfoundation.org/) however keyboard manuacturing remains an ongoing activity of the Foundation.
New Hailun HU1P upright pianos with DS5.5 or DS6.0 keyboards made by David Steinbuhler of the DS Standard Foundation are available through a partnership with Hailun USA: https://hailun-pianos.com/mysizekeys/. See also: Retail stores and pop-ups
New upright pianos manufactured by the Walter company (USA) (www.walterpiano.com) can be ordered with a Steinbuhler keyboard installed.
Cunningham Piano of Philadelphia (www.cunninghampiano.com) now offers new “Matchless Cunningham” pianos with narrower keys (made by Steinbuhler & Co) on request.
Steinway & Sons USA will provide a narrower keyboard in new Steinway grands, or as a retrofit into an existing Steinway piano, on request. Please contact Hannah Reimann for further information: http://www.hannahreimann.com/stretto
European manufacturers of alternatively sized keyboards
In Germany, Kluge (owned by Steinway) will make alternatively sized keyboards and welcomes enquiries from pianists. (https://www.kluge-klaviaturen.de/keyboards_components.html?fbclid=IwAR1sQn7IjUtak1McjDG_48E1SeLBv5eKoUnJ55uCfsq53HWn82Gt92vuLJI)
The UK manufacturer Pinkham Pianos will make alternatively sized keyboards for their range of upright and grand pianos at no extra cost compared with a standard keyboard. Pianos with any size key can be made according to the customer’s hands. Black key shapes and key coverings can also be varied to suit individual customer needs. The company will also make keyboards for other makes of pianos. For further information, see:
www.pinkhampianos.com/pinkhampianos.nsf/Pianos/CustomMadeSmallerKeys and contact the manufacturer. Prices of the range of Pinkham pianos are available on the company website. Rental arrangements are sometimes available. firstname.lastname@example.org
A new company in The Netherlands, Kaduk Musical Technology, uses innovative approaches to action and keyboard design to make alternatvely sized keyboards of any size. https://www.kaduk.nl/
Australia and New Zealand
Potential customers for retrofit keyboards in Australia and New Zealand are welcome to contact Sydney concert piano technician, Vahe Sarmazian, who will discuss options with the client, take the necessary measurements from their piano, liaise with keyboard makers overseas, and install the new keyboard. Vahe can be contacted on email@example.com
The above listing of providers does not imply any review or judgment of the quality of their products – it is simply a list of available options. As always, pianists will need to do their own investigations to ensure a particular piano/keyboard meets their needs and expectations.
Technicians for alternatively sized keyboards
There are two Facebook pages, and a website which aim to facilitate discussion and collaboration between piano technicians, share information on technology relating to keyboards with narrower keys (both acoustic and digital), and expand the supply options for pianists around the world. The Facebook Pages are:
A community page accessible to all: www.facebook.com/TASKPiano/
A closed group restricted to piano professionals: www.facebook.com/groups/TASKPiano/
What size do I need?
3D Printed Models can help you work out what size you need. These can be made quite cheaply by anyone with access to a 3D printer. Please visit this website: TASK (Technicians for Alternatively Sized Keyboards) to read more and access the computer files: http://taskpiano.org/3d-keyboards/
To try out a real piano or keyboard with narrower keys, see what the options are in your own part of the world: Where to try these keyboards
Brown, Richard (2016). Alternate keyboards for the world: The Donison-Steinbuhler standard, Piano Technicians Journal, December. https://paskpiano.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/Steinbuhler-article-Dec16-PTJ.pdf
Fandrich, Del (2016). A modern flat-strung piano, Piano Technicians Journal, December. https://paskpiano.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/Fandrich_A-Modern-Flat-strung-Grand_Dec-16.pdf
Fandrich, Del (2017). Practical keyboards for normal people, Piano Technicians Journal, January. https://paskpiano.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/Fandrich_Practical-keyboards-for-normal-people_Jan-2017.pdf