I’ve been working on a song the last few days which, unexpectedly, took a turn from a straight-up rock guitar song to something more atmospheric. After cutting the tempo in half and laying down a Moog bass sound and a very glassy pad, I decided I wanted to go full Peter Gabriel on it and include a CP-70 kind of piano part.
The CP-70 (and 80) were “electric grand” pianos produced by Yamaha starting in the mid-1970s. Before later models went full-digital, the early versions used hammers to strike strings as in a standard acoustic piano, but then added transducers to convert the sounds into amplified electronic signals. They were used by artists including Genesis, Peter Gabriel, Phil Collins, U2, Howard Jones, Billy Joel, the Grateful Dead, Frank Zappa, and more recently Keane to name just a few.
I went looking for suggestions for instruments that came close and found a few options:
- The Hollow Sun Kontact sample library
- Waves has an electric grand
- 8dio has a Kontact library
- Keyscape has a version of the CP-70
As I was looking through the various options, I realized that I probably had something useful in my setup already. I’ve really been enjoying the vintage keyboards in the Arturia V Collection, so I sifted through the various instruments looking for something close. I found one that fit what I was envisioning.
In the Arturia Piano V library there is a patch called “Glass Piano” (with the accompanying kooky picture of a translucent grand) that has a hint of chorus and really felt like the right choice for the part I was going to play. I put down the part, added some delay, and voila! Just what I was hoping for.
Also of note, I later realized that my Nord Stage 2 has a couple patches that I could have used as well: “Peter’s Grand” (Program A:15.1) and “80 Pi-layer MW” (Program B:03:1). The latter has a more bell-like quality along with a synthy layer you can control via the mod wheel, hence the “MW” in the name. Good to know there are some cool sound choices available with what I’ve got!