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#1319172 - 12/05/09 08:30 PM DP with wooden keys?  
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Mariusz Offline
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Hi all,

I have a big problem.

I used to play (15yrs ago) on very good quality real vertical piano for around 4yrs and then I switched to keyboards for next 4yrs.
The piano is still at my parents house.

Currently, I am thinking about buying the DP because together with my wife I am moving a lot (and I will for at least next 10yrs).
This is also the reason why I do not carry the vertical piano with me.

I went to shop to try few DPs.
The problem came that I feel only good with the wooden keys like in my real piano.
I tried kawaii mp8-II with wooden keys and I loved it.
However the problem is that it costs 2k euros and this is a lot for me.

Is it possible for me to switch to the cheaper plastic keys like m-audio prokeys 88 (500 Euros)?
I tried few of them but currently it was hard - would it come later after some practice?
I am completely confused what to do.

I am beginner and I hardly can play anymore after such long break and buying DP for 2k euros doesn't seems to be reasonably.

I wouldn't mind spending this money if I would knew that this investment would last forever.
That's what my parents did with the vertical piano and now after +15yrs grandchildren are playing on it.
However that's not the case with DPs?

What about other options like buying used DP with wooden keys?
Can someone suggest me what to do?
Should I switch to plastic keys or perhaps buy used wooden ones or go for the mp8-ii?

Thank you, Mariusz.

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#1319185 - 12/05/09 08:58 PM Re: DP with wooden keys? [Re: Mariusz]  
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Hi,

Why do you want wooden keys? Personally I don't think there are any differences between wooden and plastic keys, unless you are talking about different keyactions at the same point. I would recommend you to try some pianos by Roland and Kawai, the latter has some cheap ones, perhaps the ES6 is something for you, the CL25 is also an option. If you prefer quality, 500 EUR is too low. For 10000 EUR you can get something good.

Good luck
/Andrée

#1319188 - 12/05/09 09:09 PM Re: DP with wooden keys? [Re: Andree]  
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Mostly you would want a digital with graded weighted hammer action, and the big three, Yamaha, Roland and Korg, all make them.

I grew up playing traditional piano, and I really think digital piano manufacturers have excelled at replicating the acoustic piano action.

Most are designed to replicate the naturally faster action of a grand piano.

Post what models interest you, on this forum, and you will get unbiased informative responses from those using the instruments.

You don't have to spend a lot of money to get a very nice new digital piano, that will have a warranty.

Snazzy



Semper Gumby: Always flexible \:^)
#1319325 - 12/06/09 01:32 AM Re: DP with wooden keys? [Re: Mariusz]  
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The Kawai CE200 has wood kets and cost a little less. But I tried it and like Roland's keys better I think some of the better "plastic" keys are actually easier to play than many acoustic pianos. But those higher end Roland's lke the RD700GX and the FP-7 also cost about $2K (more oor less). If you like Yamaha;s "GE" action than the lowest priced Yamaha GH keyboard is the P155 for about$1K.

Yes you are right DP's are not a lifetime investment. Like computers the keep getting better

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#1319389 - 12/06/09 05:33 AM Re: DP with wooden keys? [Re: snazzyplayer]  
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Originally Posted by snazzyplayer
Mostly you would want a digital with graded weighted hammer action, and the big three, Yamaha, Roland and Korg, all make them.


Big three? Hrmf, I would have worded that a little different. Let's talk about the big (at least) five; Yamaha, Kawai, Roland, Casio and Korg. I would also include Kurzweil & one (expensive) DP from (Clavia) Nord.

I also don't think people has ever said on this forum that wooden keys has mattered that much. Wooden keys belong to the expensive lines.

Some people like the fake Ivory tops of the keys, which starts to appear in mid-range priced DPs.

But mostly people look for good key action, meaning good mechanics in the keyboard.

DPs tend to last from 10 - 20 years, sometimes depending on how expensive they are, and due to heavy use. Mechanics wear out and the electronics heat age because of the flow of current through the electrical parts. It's also usual for people to give their DPs in for repair when some of the keys might get worn over time. If you are very lucky, your DP might hold for about 30 years, as some old Rolands seem to have been doing, with minor repairs.

The electronics in DPs seem to last longer than electronics in contemporary computers, probably twice as long and sometimes even longer. You don't have HDs or graphic card that wear down or overheat, as the DP electronics usually has much less power demands.

Usually DPs are more often powered of than ordinary computers, which prolongs life time expectancy.

Buying a used DP of good quality, which is about 5 years old, I would not give more than 1/3 of the original price, as I have no warranty and the DP is heat aged.


P-85 cheap plastic imitation; not because of sound, but weight.
#1319404 - 12/06/09 06:25 AM Re: DP with wooden keys? [Re: Mariusz]  
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Mariusz Offline
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Thank you for all the responses.

Its much clearer for me now that I should have a look on mechanics behind the keys and not the keys itself. I just went to the shop and the ones which felt good for me had wooden keys.
Probably I can find the same mechanics with the plastic keys for much less money.

Thank you.

#1319417 - 12/06/09 07:49 AM Re: DP with wooden keys? [Re: Mariusz]  
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Hi again,

Sorry, I meant 1000 EUR in my last post, not 10000 EUR. For 10000 EUR you would get a very good DP =)

/Andrée

#1319431 - 12/06/09 09:12 AM Re: DP with wooden keys? [Re: Andree]  
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I absolutely agree that wooden keys mostly don't make a difference. I went out last week to try two DPs at my local dealer. A Roland HP207 and a Yamaha CLP380. The Yamaha had wooden white keys, both had ivorite tops, weighted keys and progressive hammer action. The Yammie was 1k more than the Roland and I could afford either, but ended up going with the Roland simply because the sound was great and the keys were closer to an acoustic feel. The Yammie was very light, felt like a toy to me.

So just because a DP has wooden keys doesn't mean it feels closer to an actual piano.

#1319553 - 12/06/09 01:59 PM Re: DP with wooden keys? [Re: TheGlassPassenger]  
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vitog Offline
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People's Republic of Massachus...
First try Kawai MP8 keyboard before sentencing such kind in general to the same federal prison. Wood indeed does make a difference. Depends only on who and how makes it, unless you believe that Fiat's technology ever had a chance to lift Chrysler out of the dumpster.

Last edited by vitog; 12/06/09 02:01 PM.

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#1319560 - 12/06/09 02:13 PM Re: DP with wooden keys? [Re: vitog]  
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vitog, in which way do you mean that wooden keys make difference in comparison to plastic ones? It would be a good point to give an explaination to your assessment, so that we all can make our own judgements


#1319584 - 12/06/09 03:00 PM Re: DP with wooden keys? [Re: Andree]  
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In my opinion wooden keys don't make a difference, and synthetic ivory keytops aren't all that necessary, unless your hands sweat a lot.

If you are playing a lot of classical and jazz, I would recommend an action that has 3 sensors under each key, as opposed to the more common two (faster repetitions with three).

Casio's very inexpensive PX-330 has this feature, and it may be on a few more of their new models.

But, as far as wood being better...naaah...basicallly marketing hype.

Snazzy


Semper Gumby: Always flexible \:^)
#1319645 - 12/06/09 05:17 PM Re: DP with wooden keys? [Re: snazzyplayer]  
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How many sensors does PHA III have?

#1319651 - 12/06/09 05:28 PM Re: DP with wooden keys? [Re: Andree]  
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Or for that matter, the PHAII?

vitog: Well, you can't really compare Kawais wooden action with a non-wooden action, becouse I think it's a completely different design, with not just the wood in the keys being the difference but also the mechanics...

#1320649 - 12/07/09 10:01 PM Re: DP with wooden keys? [Re: vitog]  
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I know this is a completely non-musical "note" but I couldn't help replying to this comment.

I don't know much about Fiat cars since they aren't (up to now) sold in the US, but I did see a few photographs of their cars in recent months and I have to say, that though I would never consider buying an American car, I would definitely buy a Fiat/Chrysler on style alone

~ deburn

Originally Posted by vitog
First try Kawai MP8 keyboard before sentencing such kind in general to the same federal prison. Wood indeed does make a difference. Depends only on who and how makes it, unless you believe that Fiat's technology ever had a chance to lift Chrysler out of the dumpster.

#1320722 - 12/07/09 11:31 PM Re: DP with wooden keys? [Re: Andree]  
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People's Republic of Massachus...
Andree,
I don't think one can come close enough to putting it into words. While I understand some will not feel the difference (or such a difference would mean no difference to them at all, and that's fine), I am still amazed how many happened to place themselves on that side of the argument. One time I saw a man-made material that was claimed to have an identical density to a specific type of wood, but it never felt in my hand anywhere near as comparable. My point being, I don't believe we're going to see a plastic keyboard that will feel like one made of wood, not in the foreseable future. This is for sure an argument, that is unlikely to see a solution. So to summerize my point: try what's really been made of wood (Kawai's keyboard has all keys in wood, including black ones) vs. the rest. If there is no difference to your touch, you don't have to think about it again.


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#1320732 - 12/07/09 11:48 PM Re: DP with wooden keys? [Re: vitog]  
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vitog Offline
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Deburn,
Trust me on this one, I live in Europe now and please DO NOT buy a car on looks, especially if Italian is written anywhere on it. All car brands have come a long way mechanically in recent decade or so, even Italian ones, but it will take another 2 decades (if ever) to recover from what they've always been known for: crappy quality in and out. None of the exotic Italian brands have ever made any difference in actual mass production of any Italian car. But I will give you this: they've made a number of really great looking car shells.


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#1320734 - 12/07/09 11:51 PM Re: DP with wooden keys? [Re: Vid_w]  
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vitog Offline
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Originally Posted by Vid_w
Or for that matter, the PHAII?

vitog: Well, you can't really compare Kawais wooden action with a non-wooden action, becouse I think it's a completely different design, with not just the wood in the keys being the difference but also the mechanics...


Agree, mechanics are also superior to anything out there. It indeed does take not only the "button", but what's beneath it to make it all feel good.


Kawai MP8
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#1320800 - 12/08/09 01:59 AM Re: DP with wooden keys? [Re: vitog]  
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The wooden key issue is far from being a new one! But I have to agree with Vitog, it does make a lot of difference. Who would argue that playing a carbon-fiber violin is undistinguishable from playing a wooden one to the concert violinist?

In an acoustic piano, the hammers are situated at the end of the relatively long levers of the keybed (the keys, white AND black). White spruce is generally used. The 88 levers are ideally cut from a single, carefully chosen plank. Wood responds to the touch and communicates the movement in a way that has never been successfully imitated by any man-made material. Hence the hard-to-imitate touch of an acoustic piano. Some digital piano manufacturers, such as Yamaha for example, are trying to imitate this kind of touch through the subterfuge of a short, intricate contraption of a lever that's folded on itself much like a pretzel, with a metal rod right under it acting as a mock hammer. This is far from convincing to a great many pianists. On the other hand Kawai has been using relatively long, acoustic piano-like spruce levers with a center pivot point in its premium digital piano keybeds (basically the CA series). Add the fact that real hammers flying vertically and then falling back through gravity are attached to the end of these long wooden levers, both the geometry and the feel of the keys are radically changed. These keyboards feel great and natural, as there is no hard-bottoming of the keys, no tendinitis to be developed from extensive playing on them. Wooden keybeds DO make a huge difference... And yes, I AM biased in favor of Kawai when it comes to the way keybeds are engineered, could you tell?

Regards,

Claude


K. Kawai KG-2D grand, Kawai MP8 digital, Kawai CA7
#1320891 - 12/08/09 07:42 AM Re: DP with wooden keys? [Re: bachmaniac]  
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vitog, I think you misunderstood me. I also think there is a difference between wooden and plastic key, but it is only obvious when you have a more natural keyaction as well. What I meant in my post to the person who started this thread is that he maybe wouldn't feel any difference when playing on both types. For my own part I don't want to play on a plastic DP anymore and that's also why I'm now changing from a PHAII keyboard to a Kawai CA93/63 when it has been launched.

Last edited by Andree; 12/08/09 07:47 AM.
#1320895 - 12/08/09 08:08 AM Re: DP with wooden keys? [Re: Andree]  
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Andree,
It seems we're on the same page then. In my reply I was only expanding a bit on my line of thought (I did not mean to imply that you felt no difference between the two). Wood is like a woman, it can't be artificially replicated, no matter how hard one tries.


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#1321040 - 12/08/09 01:08 PM Re: DP with wooden keys? [Re: Andree]  
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Wooden keys does make a difference but it depends what you are comparing with.
Not much so comparing the Yamaha CLP 380s and HP207s, the white yamaha wooden keys does feel a bit weightier than say the CLP 270. But its only a small part of the action thats wood, the actual material inside the key.
However try the wooden keys on a Kawai, the action is a wooden lever that extends into the case, and does feel weightier and more realistic.
Also Yamaha Grantouch and the new Avantgrand are wood and although I haven't played an avantgrand, the grantouch felt like the real thing (as it is a genuine wooden piano action).
I have a plastic action on my Roland and I love it, and i wouldn't base a buying decision solely on whether its wood or not.

#1321087 - 12/08/09 02:17 PM Re: DP with wooden keys? [Re: bobbo]  
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Wooden keys or not, for me it's a mental aspect, wood is more realistic in my mind

#1321094 - 12/08/09 02:33 PM Re: DP with wooden keys? [Re: Andree]  
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TBH, when I played the cLP 370, 340 and 330 side by side, I couldn't really tell much difference between the 3, except for the fake ivory keytops...
Infact, I was kinda blown away, when I read later that the CLP 370 had wooden keys, becouse I imagined to be much better than the non wood GH3...

#1321104 - 12/08/09 02:54 PM Re: DP with wooden keys? [Re: Vid_w]  
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I just came back from the shop where I tried several different DPs. I came to the conclusion that the wooden keys indeed feel different. For me they are a bit heavier.

#1321317 - 12/08/09 08:20 PM Re: DP with wooden keys? [Re: Mariusz]  
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Hello chaps,

I have been following this discussion with interest and would just like to offer a few words, if I may.

I strongly believe that the material of the keyboard greatly influences the feeling that one experiences when pressing a key. Acoustic piano keys are crafted from wood, therefore - as many might expect - I believe digital pianos keys should be crafted from wood also. Of course, it is not always practical nor economically viable to do so, which is why plastic is used as an alternative.

However, while the material used to craft the key is important, it is just one component within the piano action. As others have suggested, the mechanism and movement of the key also play a pivotal role in allowing the player to express emotions through their performance.

Gosh, it's terribly difficult to write about such a topic without giving the impression that I am simply promoting KAWAI. For example, I would like to include pictures to illustrate my points more clearly, however I fear this would only cause others to question the intention of my contributions to this forum.

Kind regards,
James
x


Employed by Kawai Japan, however the opinions I express are my own.
Nord Electro 3 fan & occasional rare groove player.
#1321533 - 12/09/09 02:04 AM Re: DP with wooden keys? [Re: Kawai James]  
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Well James,

your intellectual honesty is commendable. But people do need to be told, be it by a professional such as yourself or by a fan like myself, what the plain and true facts are. I strongly believe that using spruce in a keybed in much the same way as it is used on an acoustic piano, that is as long centrally pivoted levers with graded, gravity-resetting hammers at the very end of these levers, is the right way to engineer a digital piano's mechanism if such a piano is really meant to imitate an acoustic one as closely as possible. This is becoming more and more obvious as Kawai isn't the only one anymore to configure keybeds in this way, as Yamaha has started applying the same theory to its latest offerings such as the Avant Grand, I believe...

What must be understood is that cosmetically filling the sides of short GH3 levers (WHITE KEYS ONLY!!!) with wood will NOT provide the pianist with a "natural wood" keyboard in the way that pivoted levers will. If it did make a difference, then the black keys of CLP-level instruments would also be made of wood. The very proof that all this is but a sales gimmick (though an expensive one!) is that no difference can be perceived by the pianist between a CLP's "natural wood" white keys and the same instrument's black ones(!!).


I could not care less whether people on the forum think I am biased towards Kawai: I really am, with good reason when it comes to keyboard mechanisms. I can be much more critical of other aspects of that manufacturer's products, rest assured...

Regards,

Claude


K. Kawai KG-2D grand, Kawai MP8 digital, Kawai CA7
#1321628 - 12/09/09 09:55 AM Re: DP with wooden keys? [Re: bachmaniac]  
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Kawai James, Bachmaniac - I could not have said it better myself

#1328473 - 12/18/09 05:20 PM Re: DP with wooden keys? [Re: Mariusz]  
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Originally Posted by Mariusz
I just came back from the shop where I tried several different DPs. I came to the conclusion that the wooden keys indeed feel different. For me they are a bit heavier.


Wonder what you were comparing. I think you can only fairly compare Yamahas with GH3 and plastic keys and yamahas with GH3 and wooden keys (the Natural Wood keyboards), to decide that you find the wooden ones heavier. Otherwise, it might just as well be the technique of the action underneath the key which makes one heavier than the other.

I have the CLP370 (wooden white keys), but I found that the CLP320 had heavier action (plastic keys).

cheers.

#1328627 - 12/18/09 09:10 PM Re: DP with wooden keys? [Re: deburn]  
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Originally Posted by deburn
that though I would never consider buying an American car, I would definitely buy a Fiat/Chrysler on style alone
Cars in the US must take less than $250(maybe $500, I can't remember exactly) dollars in damage a 5mph crash against a wall. Europe doesn't have this standard. This extra requirement causes cars in the US to be a bit more boxy and unstylish compared to European cars. Even the Europe versions of US cars beat the US on style, so it's unfair to directly compare the two.


Dr. Appleman, former NASA engineer, Empire of Earth and B.S. of Ninjutsu at MIT.
#1328634 - 12/18/09 09:27 PM Re: DP with wooden keys? [Re: Kawai James]  
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Originally Posted by KAWAI James
.. it's terribly difficult to write about such a topic without giving the impression that I am simply promoting KAWAI. For example, I would like to include pictures to illustrate my points more clearly, ..


Kawai does make wood keys but so do Roland and Yamaha. I don't think promoting wood is to promote Kawai

Yamaha's new CP1 and CP5 stage pianos have wooden keys. The new CP50 has the same GH action we know from the P155, YDP223 and others but it appears the two other new CPs will have wooden keys.

Wood is good at damping vibration. It make a kind of "thud" rather then "click" when it impacts something, it's different.

Last edited by ChrisA; 12/18/09 09:38 PM.
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