Baby Piano - Made in China (acoustic toy piano with nice sound)

This old acoustic toy piano made in China has an astonishingly high sound quality and velocity sensitive keys despite it employs an incredible simple mechanism. Like most such toy pianos it unfortunately lacks sharp (black) keys, which limits its use. I don't know how old this thing is, but it looks like from 1970th.

main features:


It is astonishing how high the sound quality of this thing is; the timbre is somewhere between clock chime and vibraphone. The highest few notes have a strange bassy drone. The case is almost completely of wood; only the keys and their bearing component is of white plastic and some damping felt parts. When any key is pressed down, its rear end slings up a hammer against a metal rod above it. The hammers are simply formed by a comb of punched out cardboard strips with small wooden cubes glued to its ends as clangers. The rods are of partly rusty steel and resemble ordinary long nails of different length, those are held by a wood part at one end. The mechanism is even velocity sensitive playable although it ignores weak key hits and the key bearings are rather wacky which prevents gliding on the keys, but the only thing it is really missing in comparison to a real piano is a damper mechanism that muffles the rod when its key is released, thus it sounds more like a vibraphone or glockenspiel.

Here you see a bottom view on the opened instrument; to the left are the rods with the hammer row, in the middle lie the loose plastic keys. To the right you see the case bottom with the key bearing.

Here you see how the plastic keys rest on their bearing. Their right ends hit the hammers when pressed.

These hammers are simply made from a cardboard strip with a wood block glued to it. To the right you see the steel rods hit by them.
I really don't understand why nobody manufactures a longer keyboard instrument with working sharp keys based on this simple mechanism; with less wacky keys it would be certainly very well playable and it could have been built easily in the size of a modern electronic keyboard (not such a heavy monster like a Rhodes piano or the like).

I also own a toy piano by Bontempi (with orange and white plastic case) which resembles the Baby Piano but it plays and sounds way worse. Another small and wacky acoustic keyboard instrument I own is the very bizarre Nigam Bulbul Tarang.

 removal of these screws voids warranty...    
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