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#2059142 - 04/04/13 09:20 AM Digital piano with the touch of an upright piano?  
Joined: Jun 2009
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eagleleo Offline
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I am not very happy with my Korg SP-250 digital piano. The action is too deep and heavy for me; I feel like my fingers are drowning in the keyboard, especially when playing fast passages.

I remember the touch of the upright piano I played growing up being far more "shallow" and conducive to fast playing. Is there a digital piano I should check out for this kind of lighter, more shallow action? Sidenote: I need no on-board sounds, as I plan on using PianoTeq and the Vintage D as sound generators.

Any input much appreciated!


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#2059153 - 04/04/13 09:30 AM Re: Digital piano with the touch of an upright piano? [Re: eagleleo]  
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36251 Offline
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<holding back sarcasm>

Check out NU1 threads...:)

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#2059155 - 04/04/13 09:31 AM Re: Digital piano with the touch of an upright piano? [Re: eagleleo]  
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Kos Offline
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Yamaha's NU1, if you can afford it smile
If you can't - then VPC-1 would probably be a good choice for you.

"There is nothing to piano playing besides producing the appropriate velocities on the appropriate keys at the appropriate time" (c) qvfarns
#2059165 - 04/04/13 09:41 AM Re: Digital piano with the touch of an upright piano? [Re: eagleleo]  
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Kawai James Offline
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Kawai James  Offline
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Yep, if it's an upright action you're after, the Yamaha NU1 is surely the best option.

Other than that, a Kawai VPC1 or Roland A88 would also do the trick.


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#2059212 - 04/04/13 10:57 AM Re: Digital piano with the touch of an upright piano? [Re: eagleleo]  
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JFP Offline
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ES7 is also quite good , as is the FP7f or RD700NX. Well....almost anything is more piano-like than the Korg RH3, so even the new Casio's would do...

#2059219 - 04/04/13 11:01 AM Re: Digital piano with the touch of an upright piano? [Re: eagleleo]  
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LarryShone Offline
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LarryShone  Offline
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So how different is the feel of an upright to that of a grand?

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#2059227 - 04/04/13 11:10 AM Re: Digital piano with the touch of an upright piano? [Re: eagleleo]  
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Marko in Boston Offline
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Uprights have the strings and soundboard on a vertical plane, grands are built on a horizontal plane.

The shape of the actions are different. The grand piano action relies on gravity to return the hammers to rest, uprights use a return spring at the base of the hammers. Grand piano actions do use a spring in the whippen to return the jack under the hammer knuckle quickly.

The back action of the pianos is different as well, in a Grand, the una corda pedal shifts the entire keyboard and action to the right enough that hammers will hit two, instead of three, strings softening the overall volume and character of the sound. In an upright the effect is simulated by moving the hammers closer to the strings by means of a hammer rail. Properly designed and regulated it works fine, but there is some lost motion as the geometry is changed.

Most grand pianos have a full sostenuto mechanism, where dampers are held suspended if the center pedal is depressed after keys are held down. In the majority of uprights, the center pedal acts as a practice pedal, dropping a felt rail between the hammers and strings. On some uprights the center pedal acts as a bass sustain, a poor representation of sostenuto. (Some smaller grands use the same function.) Very few uprights have a true sostenuto function.

For full-size uprights and console pianos, the keys are approximately the same length as those on a grand piano. Spinets are compromise instruments. The keys are shortened and the balance point is moved forward so that the "drop action" can fit behind and below the keyboard. this makes them next to impossible to properly regulate, and they have very poor keyboard response.

Now on the upside of uprights. They take up much less floor space than a grand. Because the soundboard is on a vertical plane sound is projected to the rear (against a wall) and toward the pianist. This gives the impression of a louder instrument in close proximity. Cost is considerably less. A grand works best in a larger room where the sound can bloom For its size, the upright will have more surface area on the soundboard surface area. Most of the height of an upright is dedicated to the size of the soundboard. In a Grand, about 18" from the length is reduced from keys, pin block, and the gap required for the hammers to swing up and hit the strings. And you have to subtract the area that doesn't exist because of the cutaway bent side.

So a 52" upright might have a 55"X44" soundboard (~2600 square inches) while a 6' grand (72") will actually have a smaller soundboard.

Frequency range will be identical ... 27.5 Hz to ~4440 Hz (fundamental). The "depth" or character of the sound is obtained by voicing. All things being equal, they are equal.

Mostly the biggest difference is in the action/back action - specifically the difference between using gravity v. springs, and the whole sostenuto mechanism.

Last edited by Marko in Boston; 04/04/13 11:13 AM.

#2059316 - 04/04/13 01:37 PM Re: Digital piano with the touch of an upright piano? [Re: eagleleo]  
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erichlof Offline
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The older Yamaha P95 has a nice,light, responsive action. It is under 500 bucks too! If you are just using it as a MIDI controller for triggering a more sophisticated piano library, then this is the cheapest way to go. This particular Yamaha is even lighter than similarly priced Casios IMO.

More expensive and maybe harder to find would be the old Roland FP-4 and Roland RD-300GX which both have in my opinion the lightest, fastest action of any of their models, old or new. It is the PHA alpha II action. Not sure why they got rid of it as an option on their less expensive newer models.


I have an acoustic Yamaha U1 at home and the action (for an upright) is awesome - very fast, light, and responsive. So I know what you mean when you don't want sluggish, heavy, weighted grand action with escapement and large key dip.

Good luck with your search - let us know what you ended up with!

#2061135 - 04/08/13 03:49 AM Re: Digital piano with the touch of an upright piano? [Re: erichlof]  
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eagleleo Offline
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eagleleo  Offline
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Thank you so much for the P95 recommendation. I will try to get to a store to demo it ASAP. Will be sure to report back!


#2061873 - 04/09/13 12:16 PM Re: Digital piano with the touch of an upright piano? [Re: eagleleo]  
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justinrp97 Offline
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I just picked up the Yamaha NU1...I am not disappointed...I don't think you will be either.

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