with conrad (from chris and conrad) By Caroline Lusk Gear Guide Conrad from Chris and Conrad is what you might call a “hands-on” kind of guy. And when it came to outfitting their stage show with the coolest, best-sounding and (relatively) portable piano, he took matters into his own hands—literally. It all began with Craigslist, an old upright and some time at home. Within a couple months, he had stripped the upright of all the strings, bolts and soundboard. Oh yeah—he ripped out all the ivories, too! “Before I pulled the soundboard out, I just ripped all the keys out,” Conrad says with a laugh. “That was fun. It was like the demolition process!” Soon, he had a shell of a piano ripe for the sanding and painting. A week and a half later, the upright was nearly unrecognizable in its new shiny white coat. Then, the real fun began—the techie stuff. With very finite dimensions to play with, Conrad had to do quite a bit of investigation to find a keyboard that would give him the sounds he needed and fit within the white shell. “You want to make sure you have the right look without having to make too many modifications,” he explains. He found what he wanted—a Yamaha CP300. Sadly, it was a bit too heavy. Choice No. 2: A Nord Stage 88 just happened to be the perfect balance of weight, length and sound. It’s red, too, so it just happened to look uber-cool. Add to that a custom set of LEDs under any surface that would sit still and Conrad has arguably the coolest keybard in the industry. Lucky for the rest of us, he’s looking to start making some more. Interested? Hit him up at conrad@chrisandconrad.com. In the meantime, check out the sounds of his mad piano skills at a summer festival near you. Log onto www.chrisandconrad.com for a tour schedule and more! Breaking it down Instrument: Custom Upright Piano Shell fitted with Electronic Keyboard Brand: Keyboard-Nord Stage 88 Calzone Custom Case with ramp 16 feet of RGB flex LED lighting Pros: : Light weight and completely self-contained. Roll it out of its custom Calzone case and plug it in. The Nord Stage 88 is removed easily for portability and fly dates. You can stand on top and moonwalk. Cons: Can’t fly with it. Very heavy when it’s in the case. 48 CCM