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I actually have encountered the problem on a Baldwin studio upright in a showroom once (actually it was the exact same piano that Ben Folds had played only a few weeks prior -- almost bought it for that reason alone).
Anyway, I probably could have gotten used to it, but the keys weren't as "conveniently spaced" as others I've played. The action was pretty heavy, the black keys were tall, and the throw on the white keys seemed deep. Great piano, but it was difficult to play some chords at first.
I guess it just comes down to choosing the instrument that feels right in (or under) your hands. Kind of like "don't buy a Mini Cooper if you're 6' 4" tall".
Cyber - Howd`ya know it was a regular piano? He might have done the same as I`m suggesting - more likely, he was sponsored by Yamaha or someone who would make darned sure he was happy . . . .wouldn`t you?
You have a point. As far as I remember, he used to play on a (and was probably endorsed by) BÃ¶sendorfer, so it might have been a special model built to his taste or at least he could have liked BÃ¶sendorfer for their key dimensions/density.
That guy was on mainstream (British) TV in the 70`s/early 80`s. Very popular and respected. I can only dream . . .what does e think when he plays that abstract stuff! Tony Bennett`s pianist(s) were a bit special too. I love it, but don`t understand it.
...fat-fingered people can play chords and notes on a guitar ...
...fat-fingered people can play mandoline...
Fat-fingered people could play a lot many keyboard instruments in up until the 19th Century - as nowdays do early music specialists. This includes very different organ keyboards, harpsichords, clavichords, etc..
Typically clavichord keyboards require a complete other fingering technic than e.g. organ or other instruments, being the keys even shorter and needing to get really hit (instead of touched or pressed). Preclassical musicians were required to adapt to a wide range of instruments and to use them interchangably and they had to succeed with this.
There were no exact standards for geometrical keyboard layout specification at all. To adapt should be much easier today...
I met this guy once - Big Joe Duskin. I shook his hand and thought his fingers looked like a bunch of bananas (they were fat, not yellow). But he could play, he could really play! If he could get those podgy digits between the black keys I'm sure anyone else could. It's a non-issue.
A couple of things that I've noticed about those who are finger-width challenged. 1) The instrument you play on matters quite a bit. You'll have to search for one that has a wider spacing for the keys. 2) Digitals tend to play notes too easily vs. an acoustic (an organ is even worse) so the slightest touch of a key will produce unintended sounds. Perhaps there is a way to adjust the sensitivity of this on the DP, if so, I highly recommend that. 3) The modifications you will have to do if you cannot find a piano that has a good spacing for your hands deal with re-voicing chords, dropping unimportant notes, and refingering to make it work - pretty much the same tactics those of us with smaller hands deal with on a regular basis.
Not all digitals have the same key spacings or key widths. I don't have fat fingers but did have more trouble with Roland due to the height, angles and edges of the keys, than with Kawai or Yamaha. So if the DIY mod doesn't work, or ruins your instrument, the advice is indeed shop around.
1) have you tried taping the offending fingers temporarily while playing to slim them down(sort of like Michael Jackson) 2) using talcum powder on the fingers to facilitate the sliding in process. 3) trying to slide in between the black keys BUT not from the top directly down, but slightly pushing forward thus reducing the friction that causes the neighbouring black keys to be pushed down too.
Haven`t tried the tape bit! But my last Kawai was Ok, I played better on it. Only sold it cos it was heavy for gigging . . . I have to play a bit differntly now; I get by. But I`d sure like it better! (Wiout having to buy a Kawai . . )