Extreme piano transplant

We always wondered what happens to ancient pianos when the internals can no longer be kept in a playable condition. [Jean Philippe Roch] gutted his elderly upright and fit a Korg Triton inside. After the break you can watch a few videos including a slide show of the work log.  [Jean] separates the Korg keyboard from its case and places it in the empty upright piano rank. He then mounts the Korg’s controls in the front panel and adds motorized control to reveal this hidden secret. The project is finished with speakers in the bottom portion of the upright and blue LED lighting effects.

The result is a pretty nice show-piece. It’s not as hacky as vocoding, but we really love the finished look.

Construction log

Case automation

Playing demonstration

[Thanks poisoMike]


  1. Freax says:

    The blue leds look sooo tacky… If he painted the whole thing white (or black) it would look ok maybe, but with the dark wood?!

  2. partially.fake says:

    looks nice… maybe in a night jazz club or something

  3. woah says:

    Blue leds are so late 2006

  4. plan9 says:


    Yeah, judging by the music in the videos, I’d expect this guy to have an aesthetic sense beyond reproach…

  5. Manatee Militia says:

    I think that amber LEDs would have looked more appropriate.

  6. Anders says:

    Come of the obsessive blue led bashing! This is a great hack! Love it. The motorized panel is awesome; makes it look like a piece of batcave furniture.

  7. Oler says:

    Whats this years color then?

  8. vonskippy says:


    Ultraviolet of course.

    j/k – nice project (hopefully the blue LED’s have a master on/off switch).

    Sounds way better then I thought with those buried speakers.

    What about cooling?

  9. j says:

    I doubt he would want to paint the wood – I don’t think it was ever intended to be painted. I think it look alright as is. Color of the led isn’t exactly a big deal :) nice.

  10. Jonathan says:

    I love it! I like the blue with the old dark wood; it is a great juxtaposition of the old vs. the new.

  11. aztraph says:

    not painting the wood is good, the blue leds are cool, his piano skills are good. what’s not to like. I mean he’s dedicated in taking a full keyboard device to put in there, making it work, making it pretty, AND the skills to use it? I look forward to more from this guy

  12. Jonathan Wilson says:

    Please tell me this piano was already broken beyond repair before it was hacked…

  13. Cami says:

    I would totally do this… If I had the money and no concern about the warranty.

  14. Adrian says:

    Now if you could feed it midi and it light up the keys to be pressed by the student… probably not popular with classical piano teachers! Colour is a matter of personal taste so could cater for other tasts with tri-led. I for one definitly like the music. Thanks

  15. Kyoorius says:

    This is a pretty awesome case mod.. and it should be tagged as such.

  16. Paul Potter says:


  17. What a fun looking project. Awesome!

  18. Richard says:

    very very nice! UV lights sound very good, maybe mount a few above the keyboard and paint it with flourescent paint??

    how about as an extension project try to fit a pianodisk system with a floppy disk player? even better try to rig it so the actual keys move??

  19. Peter Mathis says:

    I also hope the piano was too broken to fix, but it’s definitely a cool project.

  20. anon says:

    @Manatee Militia: Agreed, bring the Amber Lamps.

  21. qwerty says:

    such beutiful wooden piano broken in this disastrous way makes my heart cry

  22. Edward says:

    just yeah, awesome, there is nothing like sitting down to a beautiful instrument, and todays awesome sounding equip leaves much to be desired of beauty, great work there, enjoy your new toy.

  23. Agent420 says:

    Regarding the lighting… Personally I prefer nice warm incandescent for applications like this… goes well with the wood.

  24. Osgeld says:

    “Please tell me this piano was already broken beyond repair before it was hacked…”

    as someone who works in the industry, I can assure you there are millions of 100+ year old dumpy uprights with loose pins and cracked plates

    sure you can rebuild them but then you just sank 5-10 grand into a no name dumpy old upright that even in factory fresh mint condition would only fetch 500bucks

  25. nate says:

    Blue LED choice may have been to match the Korg’s display.

    Either way, insanely well done and props for originality!

  26. jeditalian says:

    TRANSFORMERS- Pianos in disquise..
    UV leds are cool. it’s not like he can’t swap them out later. i would have them mounted in sockets anyway so you can just pull them out, push them in. but to paint that piano would be a crime.
    i’m sure theres plenty of room in there to add a real keyboard, monitor, etc. and have a pimped out piano-puter that nobody would take the time to try to steal. plus nobody would know there was a computer in there, cuz its all Bruce Wayne-ified.
    an off switch for the LEDs is really simple and necessary as well. i either unplug my blue leds or cover them with electric tape.
    to pimp it out with UV and some UV reactive artwork/components would be cool

  27. gyro_john says:

    Looks great, Jean Philippe! I totally get the blue lighting.

    Q1. What does it weigh?
    Q2. Did you hook up the pedals?

  28. Phil A. Delf says:

    Anyone know what’s the backing track for the construction log video?

  29. Cyborg says:

    Great Job! Very stealth, which I like, nobody would expect what is lying under the hood. Another interesting mod would be using 3 color LEDs and having them change color when you press certain keys near them, it would add a visual element whilst you play. You could even add a dial to the control panel to change the color to better suit the mood of the piece you are playing. Just an idea :)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 96,705 other followers