American manufacturers of alternatively sized keyboards

Currently, David Steinbuhler in Pennsylvania (USA) is the only manufacturer with many years experience with 5.5 inch (14.1 cm) octave keyboards (DS5.5®) and 5.1 inch (13.0 cm) octave keyboards (DS5.1®) for acoustic upright and grand pianos. David, and his grandson Alex, also make 6.0 inch (15.2 cm) octave keyboards (DS6.0®).  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 manufacturing remains an ongoing activity of the Foundation.

New Hailun HU1P upright pianos with DS5.1®, DS5.5® or DS6.0® keyboards made by David Steinbuhler of the DS Standard Foundation are available through a partnership with Hailun USA: https://www.hailun-pianos.com/my-size-keys/.  See also: Retail stores and pop-ups

New upright pianos manufactured by the Walter company (USA) (www.walterpiano.com) can be ordered with a DS® keyboard installed. 

Cunningham Piano of Philadelphia (www.cunninghampiano.com)  now offers new “Matchless Cunningham” pianos with DS® keys (made by the DS Standard Foundation) 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

Reyburn Pianoworks, from Rockford, Michigan (https://www.reyburnpianoworks.com/keyboards) will make alternatively sized keyboards and the company welcomes enquiries. 

David Rubenstein, from Los Angeles (www.pianosrubenstein.com) is willing to make alternatively sized keyboards and welcomes enquiries. dr@pianosrubensteinstein.com

 Jim Watson, from San Marcos, Texas (www.watsonpianoworks.com)  is willing to make alternatively sized keyboards and welcomes enquiries. Watsonpianoworks@gmail.com

European manufacturers of alternatively sized keyboards

In Germany, Steingraeber & Sohne will make 6.0 and 5.5 inch octave keyboards for upright and grand pianos on request. https://www.steingraeber.de/en/innovationen/narrow-keyboards/

Also in Germany, Kluge (owned by Steinway) will make alternatively sized keyboards on request. 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. clive.pinkham@pinkhampianos.com

Kaduk Musical Technology will retrofit acoustic pianos with keyboards of any size using automated, cutting edge computer technology for design and production. http://kaduk.nl

Klavins Piano in Latvia now offers a custom built Una Corda Stretto with 5.8 inch octave. https://klavins-pianos.com/products/una-corda-stretto/

Digital keyboards

While some of the major manufacturers of digital keyboards (such as Yamaha and Korg) sell ‘mini’ keyboards with fewer than 88 keys, they are mainly designed for small children. They have unweighted keys which are often considerably shorter than normal.

An American company has commenced production of the first narrow key (5.5 inch, or 14.1 cm octave) 88 key digital keyboard. http://narrowkeys.com. You can see a prototype played here by Linda Gould: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ja8as9HpPA. To add your name to the waiting list for a keyboard or seek more information, please contact the company here: https://www.narrowkeys.com/shop

The European company, Kaduk Musical Technology, is using innovative approaches to action and keyboard design in its ‘Respons’ keyboard, still in the pre-production phase. It will be possible to have adjustable keys of any width, down to 3/4 of the conventional (6.5 inch octave) keyboard. The company is also working on an advanced sound module, ‘Tendens’. http://www.kaduk.nl

The DS Standard Foundation can retrofit Kawai MP11SE keyboards with DS® keys (5.1, 5.5 or 6.0) on request. Contact David Steinbuhler on dskeyboards@tbscc.com

Monitor ‘Latest News’ on this website, or via PASK social media,  for updates! 

Asian manufacturers of alternatively sized keyboards

The Pearl River company, based in Guangzhou, China, unveiled their UP95 small upright acoustic piano, designed for children with a 61 keys and a 6.0 inch (15.2 cm) octave at the NAMM show in 2024. https://pearlriverusa.com/30-years-at-namm/

Reviews of alternatively sized keyboards

An engaging review of a pianist’s experience with a DS5.5® keyboard at Shenandoah University: https://www.pianobuyer.com/post/alternatively-sized-keyboards-a-university-experience

Reviews of DS6.0® keyboards in the Hailun HU1P upright piano: https://www.pianobuyer.com/post/hailun-model-hu1p-upright-with-ds6-0-keyboard-three-short-reviews

Review of the Pearl River UP95 small acoustic piano for children, unveiled at NAMM in 2024: https://www.worldpianonews.com/new-product/two-new-small-scale-pianos-from-pearl-river/

This article includes a brief review of NK5.5 from NAMM 2022: https://www.worldpianonews.com/new-product/pianos-at-namm-2022/

Disclaimer

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

These Facebook pages 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: 
A community page accessible to all: www.facebook.com/TASKPiano/
A closed group restricted to piano professionals: www.facebook.com/groups/TASKPiano/

For further information, contact Kathy Strauch: taskpiano@gmail.com

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. See this page to read more and access the computer files: Resources-and-links

This interactive chart allows you to select your hand span and vary the width of the keys so you can get an idea of how many keys you could reach on a keyboards of different widths: https://www.desmos.com/calculator/lm1ffmeajo?fbclid=IwAR2u62NNR2vgJGqGqAKtJ_4FyTi9aclsLP8IY5FC0Qh6S8oplKWuB0b-_68

To try out a real piano or keyboard with narrow keys, see what the options are in your own part of the world: Where to try these keyboards

Second hand narrow keyboards for sale

Nothing we know of at the moment.

References

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

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