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#1244887 - 08/06/09 04:41 PM Finger strength & weighted DP?  
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MMM Offline
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MMM  Offline
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It was suggested by a salesperson that my "beginner" daughter cannot gain sufficient finger strength learning on a weighted, graded digital piano? I wouldn't consider one if that were the case. My daughter's teacher says she has no experience with digital pianos, but a teacher's thoughts would be helpful as we search for a new instrument.

Sincere thanks,
Meredith

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#1244895 - 08/06/09 04:53 PM Re: Finger strength & weighted DP? [Re: MMM]  
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I'm not a teacher, but is it possible the salesman was pushing a more expensive acoustic? The weighted keys of a good DP are designed to simulate the feel, and required force, of an acoustic. How these would differ in building finger strength escapes me.

#1244926 - 08/06/09 06:24 PM Re: Finger strength & weighted DP? [Re: Liber_Ouchy]  
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ToriAnais Offline
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I have a DP and am also studying piano at the con. It is definitely correct that it doesn't take the same finger strength to press down a DP key as it does to press down a grand piano key, however a DP key probably has more weight to it than the keys on an old overused upright. All pianos are different.

Accoustic pianos are always better (in my opinion) but I think a DP would be satisfactory for a beginner.


Piano teacher since August 2008.
#1244927 - 08/06/09 06:27 PM Re: Finger strength & weighted DP? [Re: Liber_Ouchy]  
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Susan K. Offline
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I'm not a teacher, but I have a digital piano (Yamaha) and I can actually set the force in heavy, medium, or light and then there's a more precise setting where I can go the entire range by number -- I set mine at 115, because my teacher's grand is looser than the light setting. On the heaviest setting, you have to really pound on the key to get the sound. So I don't think that your daughter would have any trouble developing finger strength on a digital piano. I'd post your question on the digital piano thread because they have CRAZY intense knowledge about anything and everything digital piano (even the pro and con's of each make, model, etc.)

Susan

#1244961 - 08/06/09 07:01 PM Re: Finger strength & weighted DP? [Re: Susan K.]  
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Emmery Offline
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Emmery  Offline
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The salesman may not be very informed of all the variances between different models of DP's with weighted keys. It may be that they had tried one that was very light but most of the better brands are right in the ballpark with acoustic pianos. BTW, acoustics can vary quite a bit in touch weight also, very old pianos could have had some of the hammer felt carded or worn off over the years and loose bushings; these all contribute to lighter action. Geometry, excessive friction and regulating issues can also cause some acoustics to have heavy touch weight.
There are other issues with DP's vs acoustics. Aftertouch is non existent in all but the top DP's. On acoustics, the aftertouch allows the sound to hit your ear at the same time the key bottoms out (a few thousandths of a second delay for the sound to travel is compensated for by this small amount of key movement after the mechanism has escaped.) Most DP's are not so precise in this tactile/acoustic feedback and some control can be lost at certain speeds and amplitudes of playing.
Whether you get an acoustic or a DP, consistency in the touch is more important than slight overall variances in touch weight. It is normal for the bass keys to be slightly heavier touch than the treble but you do not want oddball keys much heavier or lighter than the rest...even experienced pianists have difficulty dealing with that.


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#1247023 - 08/10/09 11:55 PM Re: Finger strength & weighted DP? [Re: Emmery]  
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Jonathan Baker Offline
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MMM: Your daughter can definitely acquire finger strength with a weighted digital keyboard. Although I have a Steinway C (7'10") I use a Casio 88-key weighted action keyboard when practicing late at night to avoid bothering the neighbors in my apartment building. Quick pros & cons:

The weighted Casio action, if anything, is more difficult than my Steinway because it requires me to sink every key to the bottom of the keybed to get any sound at all. This requires over-strenuous articulation on my part that actually builds a certain kind of gross muscular strength. However, and more importantly, that weighted action hinders execution of subtle nuances. By contrast to the Casio, the Yamaha's weighted action does not require as much rigor from the pianist.

I would offer only two reasons to use a digital keyboard in place of a piano: 1) because one wishes not to be heard by others - one can adust the volume or wear headphones, or 2) one lives 500 miles from the nearest piano tuner. Those are a valid reasons, but from my perspective, the only valid reasons. Decent practice pianos can be had for a few hundred dollars, or for free, if one is patient and hunts for such bargains.

#1247089 - 08/11/09 05:35 AM Re: Finger strength & weighted DP? [Re: Jonathan Baker]  
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keyboardklutz Offline
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The salesman is making no sense. Eventually she will need an acoustic though.


snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/

#1247118 - 08/11/09 08:07 AM Re: Finger strength & weighted DP? [Re: Susan K.]  
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Nyiregyhazi Offline
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Originally Posted by Susan K.
I'm not a teacher, but I have a digital piano (Yamaha) and I can actually set the force in heavy, medium, or light and then there's a more precise setting where I can go the entire range by number -- I set mine at 115, because my teacher's grand is looser than the light setting. On the heaviest setting, you have to really pound on the key to get the sound. So I don't think that your daughter would have any trouble developing finger strength on a digital piano. I'd post your question on the digital piano thread because they have CRAZY intense knowledge about anything and everything digital piano (even the pro and con's of each make, model, etc.)

Susan


The problem is that it doesn't change the actual resistance in the slightest. My Yamaha CLP 370 is nowhere near to the resistance of an upright, never mind a grand. I wouldn't particularly recommend changing those settings, as the feeling of thumping a keyboard to get more sound out really doesn't have much bearing on the way you need to ease through the heavier action of a real piano. You just end up hitting light keys hard, rather than learning to sense how to move a heavier key smoothly and with enough support.

You can feel it resisting when you play quiet notes, but it doesn't change very much when you go louder. To move the hammer involves variable resistance when you go louder. I was rather surprised when I played a rather loud bass note. It didn't even feel like I was making a big effort, but I was suddenly presented with an almighty crack when I played one bass-note, that sounded like it was straining the mechanism and that didn't result in the movement being absorbed. I could barely feel any resistance to the action at all- until contacting the keybed. When I do the same motion on my upright, I just feel as though I'm sinking into a note, because the hammer absorbs so much of the energy you put into it (as opposed to the bed of the key taking most of it). The key-weight may be effectively the same for a beginner as when they play a real piano (within a limited dynamic range), but once you start looking for a real forte, the action reaches its limit. These shockwaves (from hitting a light key hard) are likely to be far more harmful to the body than those that come from playing inot a heavier action, that cushions the forces.

I find it useful to own for slow practise, but frankly they ought to be prosecuted under the trade descriptions act, for claiming that it has the action of a grand piano. It's not even on a par with any of their uprights.

Last edited by Nyiregyhazi; 08/11/09 08:21 AM.
#1247137 - 08/11/09 08:59 AM Re: Finger strength & weighted DP? [Re: Nyiregyhazi]  
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Iowa City, IA
Digitals do not have the same feel of an acoustic. I think it's a lot more than just "weight."

In my mind, it's a bit like bicycles. A bicycle bought at Wal-Mart for $85 could be the same weight or heavier than a $600 cycle bought at a bike shop. Regardless of weight, the $600 cycle is going to feel more sturdy and more responsive, even though it probably weighs less.

Acoustic pianos are far more responsive and provide more tactile feedback than digitals, and the nature of the sound is such that you feel more connected to the tone you're producing.

So basically, the salesperson is giving you the "party line" that most people give. He gets it right, but for the wrong reasons.


"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

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#1247159 - 08/11/09 09:40 AM Re: Finger strength & weighted DP? [Re: Kreisler]  
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keyboardklutz Offline
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Originally Posted by Kreisler

In my mind, it's a bit like bicycles. A bicycle bought at Wal-Mart for $85 could be the same weight or heavier than a $600 cycle bought at a bike shop.
No. You're paying for a lighter alloy.


snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/

#1247240 - 08/11/09 11:56 AM Re: Finger strength & weighted DP? [Re: keyboardklutz]  
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verania5 Offline
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A really nice carbon fiber bike can easily cost 8k - klutz is right the most expensive bikes are lighter not heavier. Who wants to drag dead weight around while biking.

Originally Posted by keyboardklutz
Originally Posted by Kreisler

In my mind, it's a bit like bicycles. A bicycle bought at Wal-Mart for $85 could be the same weight or heavier than a $600 cycle bought at a bike shop.
No. You're paying for a lighter alloy.

#1247253 - 08/11/09 12:16 PM Re: Finger strength & weighted DP? [Re: verania5]  
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Kreisler Offline
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Iowa City, IA
Yeah, that's why I said the $85 bike would be the same or heavier. Guess I'm wrong they could be the same, although I do know some cyclists who prefer steel frames or a heavier bike for off-road use.

And you're not just paying for the alloy - you pay for higher quality in the rest of the components as well.

The same is true in pianos - higher prices are the result of a composite, not just one aspect (action/soundboard/tuning).


"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

www.pianoped.com
www.youtube.com/user/UIPianoPed
#1247258 - 08/11/09 12:23 PM Re: Finger strength & weighted DP? [Re: Kreisler]  
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keyboardklutz Offline
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Originally Posted by Kreisler
Yeah, that's why I said the $85 bike would be the same or heavier. Guess I'm wrong they could be the same, although I do know some cyclists who prefer steel frames or a heavier bike for off-road use.
I deleted the post after realizing what you meant. It didn't go though?? But speaking as a light bike enthusiast, maybe the point is valid.


snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/


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