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#2304008 - 07/19/14 12:25 PM Renting A Piano  
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MargaretUK Offline
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Hi everyone - my first time on here so I hope I'm in the right place with this question! crazy

I've been diagnosed with anergic dysthymia which is basically a form of chronic depression but I've discovered I'm resistant to anti depressants or at least after trying 5 of them I'm not willing to go through any more misery trying to find one that works!

I'm therefore looking for alternative ways of changing brain chemistry and have been thinking back to what gave me pleasure when I was younger. Music has always been a source of pleasure - I played the piano from 5 to 16 and loved it but then moved away from home where there was no opportunity to continue or have access to a piano. I'm now 55 but the dream of owning a piano again has always stayed with me.

Something made me think of this recently and I started looking into buying a second-hand piano. Not having much clue what to look for in a private sale I decided to go to a reputable dealer (Gordon Bell in Aberdeen) to get advice and try out some pianos but really I have very little to go on not having played for so long. I felt all I could really do was try the keys for tone and the feel of them so did that and found the more modern pianos had a slight resistance to the keys.

We ascertained that this was probably because I had played an older piano all those years ago and wasn't used to a modern one and also the muscles in my fingers weren't used to playing so would become accustomed to that in time. Makes sense but what confused me about that was when trying a couple of Kawais I found they had a lovely light touch but obviously were completely out of my price range (I'm on a really low budget because I'm not working at the moment).

Today I made my second visit to the showroom and settled on a Young-Chang secondhand piano which I'm going to rent for 6 months and see how it goes. I tried it last week but found the whole resistant-keys thing irritating so thought it wasn't a good idea to plump for it.

My question is this - is it true that I'll get used to the keys in time or should I go for something which has a lighter touch straight away and hang on until I find something I'm happier with? I feel I have so little to go on to make a decision that I wonder if there's any point in waiting any longer - maybe I should just try one out and see how I get on with it?

Any advice, comments or help would be very welcome.

Thank you! smile

Margaret

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#2304009 - 07/19/14 12:37 PM Re: Renting A Piano [Re: MargaretUK]  
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rnaple Offline

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Rocky Mountains
Kawai's are known for being just a little on the heavy side.

Young Chang. I don't know on this brand? I have heard that the Chinese made piano's are getting much better. If I thought what you do on pressing the keys. I'd forget about it.

I don't know what to tell you. Perhaps some of our members in the UK can help you a bit more.


Ron
Your brain is a sponge. Keep it wet. Mary Gae George
The focus of your personal practice is discipline. Not numbers. Scott Sonnon
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#2304018 - 07/19/14 01:17 PM Re: Renting A Piano [Re: MargaretUK]  
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bennevis Offline
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I assume you were trying uprights rather than grands.

I don't have much experience of uprights other than Yamahas, but all acoustic pianos are different, and if you don't like the feel of a particular piano, it's probably not a good idea to rent it for 6 months unless you have the option of exchanging it earlier. Unless all the other pianos also feel the same, when it might be that you're better off learning to adapt to it, because that might be what the 'normal' feel is like.

However, also bear in mind that bright-sounding pianos tend to feel lighter when you play them. Were those Kawais much brighter tonally than the Young Chang?

If you know someone who plays, get his/her opinion on the differences between the Kawais that feel light and those that feel heavy to you.


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
#2304035 - 07/19/14 02:09 PM Re: Renting A Piano [Re: MargaretUK]  
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Morodiene Offline
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Young Changs aren't that great. I wouldn't buy a piano right now. Try renting a digital piano or an acoustic upright that you like (even though your tastes may/will change), and that will give you time to refine your playing.

Piano purchases are not something you want to jump into quickly. Some people take several months or even a year before deciding.



private piano/voice teacher FT

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#2304040 - 07/19/14 02:20 PM Re: Renting A Piano [Re: MargaretUK]  
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MargaretUK Offline
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Hi thanks for your replies. Bennevis - the Kawais are out of my price range altogether so there wouldn't be any point in trying any of them. I'm sorry - I don't know what 'brighter tonally' would be - how would I recognise that?

Morodiene - it is a rental I'm doing - not buying - but there were only 4 there I could choose from within my budget. (He had others out of my price range). I decided if I rented I could at least get a try of a piano and see whether I liked it or not. 3 had that 'key-resistant' feel which made me think it might just be something I need to get used to - the fourth was an older piano which had a lovely touch but which would not have done well with central heating so I didn't want to risk it.

Margaret

#2304045 - 07/19/14 02:29 PM Re: Renting A Piano [Re: MargaretUK]  
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spanishbuddha Online content
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I'm not sure about the key resistance you describe. What I would choose instead is one that allows you to play softly, yet predictably without missing notes or even loud notes; and then when you do play more firmly you are still in control. If this does include one the key resistant ones then I suspect you would get used to it.

#2304052 - 07/19/14 02:47 PM Re: Renting A Piano [Re: MargaretUK]  
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bennevis Offline
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Originally Posted by MargaretUK
Hi thanks for your replies. Bennevis - the Kawais are out of my price range altogether so there wouldn't be any point in trying any of them. I'm sorry - I don't know what 'brighter tonally' would be - how would I recognise that?

It just means the opposite of dull-sounding (or mellow, if you prefer) - or, in other words, with more strength in the higher frequencies when you hit the keys hard, compared to a mellower-sounding piano. Some may call that sound strident, or abrasive, if they don't like that kind of tonal character.

Like the difference between this bright-sounding Fazioli http://youtu.be/izIMf9-pQGk
and this mellow-sounding Steinway http://youtu.be/JoqSntXpcSk

BTW, the reason I suggest you might benefit from an experienced pianist trying out those 'light' and 'heavy' pianos is so that he can tell you whether the piano you perceive as 'heavy' is actually quite normal in keyweight. Which would indicate that you might be better off, in the long term, getting used to it.


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
#2304071 - 07/19/14 03:34 PM Re: Renting A Piano [Re: MargaretUK]  
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Morodiene Offline
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Originally Posted by MargaretUK


Morodiene - it is a rental I'm doing - not buying - but there were only 4 there I could choose from within my budget. (He had others out of my price range). I decided if I rented I could at least get a try of a piano and see whether I liked it or not. 3 had that 'key-resistant' feel which made me think it might just be something I need to get used to - the fourth was an older piano which had a lovely touch but which would not have done well with central heating so I didn't want to risk it.

Margaret
I understand you were talking about renting (thus the title of this thread), I was just confirming the decision. Since you are simply renting, pick whichever one fits your budget best and that you like. It may even be what looks the nicest. You will adjust your playing to suit whatever instrument you have, and in 6 months you will know at that point if you like it or not.

Ideally, you'd be taking lessons so that your teacher can help you with your technique in playing your instrument if it is a bit on the heavy side (which can be more challenging than lighter actions). I prefer heavy actions, but there's not right or wrong.


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#2304125 - 07/19/14 05:31 PM Re: Renting A Piano [Re: MargaretUK]  
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Dave B Offline
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Usually players will quickly adjust to the action. Keep in mind that you do need to feel some resistance to achieve dynamic control.

You may want to keep a look out for an inexpensive keyboard. I'm not suggesting you replace the acoustic piano. Keyboards can be fun and are just nice to have around because they are portable and the volume control allows for playing during off hours. Look for one that has 88 notes and touch sensitive dynamic control.

Enjoy

Last edited by Dave B; 07/19/14 05:33 PM.

"Imagine it in all its primatic colorings, its counterpart in our souls - our souls that are great pianos whose strings, of honey and of steel, the divisions of the rainbow set twanging, loosing on the air great novels of adventure!" - William Carlos Williams
#2304166 - 07/19/14 07:29 PM Re: Renting A Piano [Re: bennevis]  
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MargaretUK Offline
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MargaretUK  Offline
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[/quote]
It just means the opposite of dull-sounding (or mellow, if you prefer) - or, in other words, with more strength in the higher frequencies when you hit the keys hard, compared to a mellower-sounding piano. Some may call that sound strident, or abrasive, if they don't like that kind of tonal character.

Like the difference between this bright-sounding Fazioli http://youtu.be/izIMf9-pQGk
and this mellow-sounding Steinway http://youtu.be/JoqSntXpcSk

BTW, the reason I suggest you might benefit from an experienced pianist trying out those 'light' and 'heavy' pianos is so that he can tell you whether the piano you perceive as 'heavy' is actually quite normal in keyweight. Which would indicate that you might be better off, in the long term, getting used to it. [/quote]

Ah right I see (or hear!) what you mean now. Yes I was definitely drawn more to the second one.

#2304168 - 07/19/14 07:32 PM Re: Renting A Piano [Re: spanishbuddha]  
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MargaretUK Offline
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MargaretUK  Offline
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Originally Posted by spanishbuddha
I'm not sure about the key resistance you describe. What I would choose instead is one that allows you to play softly, yet predictably without missing notes or even loud notes; and then when you do play more firmly you are still in control. If this does include one the key resistant ones then I suspect you would get used to it.


The problem with this is that I don't play at the moment so it's hard to try them out in that sense. I'm reduced to chords or plinky-plonky sounding out of notes! However I take on board what you mean and think I may just have to go with one of them and rent for 6 months to see how I get on. Hopefully it IS just a case of getting used to playing again.

#2304169 - 07/19/14 07:37 PM Re: Renting A Piano [Re: Morodiene]  
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MargaretUK Offline
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MargaretUK  Offline
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Originally Posted by Morodiene
I understand you were talking about renting (thus the title of this thread), I was just confirming the decision. Since you are simply renting, pick whichever one fits your budget best and that you like. It may even be what looks the nicest. You will adjust your playing to suit whatever instrument you have, and in 6 months you will know at that point if you like it or not.

Ideally, you'd be taking lessons so that your teacher can help you with your technique in playing your instrument if it is a bit on the heavy side (which can be more challenging than lighter actions). I prefer heavy actions, but there's not right or wrong.


Yes I think that's maybe what I'll have to do. The Young-Chang certainly looked a nice piano and was a price I could afford and yes I was thinking myself at least if I'm renting, 6 months should be enough time to know whether it's just a case of getting into playing again and getting used to the keys or whether there's a larger factor at work and I need to go for a different piano. I think I just felt a bit overwhelmed by the decision! crazy

#2304172 - 07/19/14 07:43 PM Re: Renting A Piano [Re: Dave B]  
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MargaretUK Offline
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MargaretUK  Offline
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Originally Posted by Dave B
Usually players will quickly adjust to the action. Keep in mind that you do need to feel some resistance to achieve dynamic control.

You may want to keep a look out for an inexpensive keyboard. I'm not suggesting you replace the acoustic piano. Keyboards can be fun and are just nice to have around because they are portable and the volume control allows for playing during off hours. Look for one that has 88 notes and touch sensitive dynamic control.

Enjoy


I used to have a keyboard at one point but hated it! Although I have to admit I tried a digital piano this afternoon and quite liked it which surprised me. I wasn't sure if it was one for rent and forgot to ask when I was there but have since e-mailed so will see what comes back. I also thought the same about the volume control as I live in a terraced house and am often up late at night so it's a valid consideration! (And perhaps my 3 cats may appreciate that decision as well ......)

I think I'll maybe try the acoustic Young-Chang for 6 months and see how I get on with it - maybe it is just a case of getting used to playing again and becoming more familiar with the keys.

#2304276 - 07/20/14 04:30 AM Re: Renting A Piano [Re: MargaretUK]  
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JohnSprung Offline
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Originally Posted by MargaretUK
I also thought the same about the volume control as I live in a terraced house and am often up late at night so it's a valid consideration! (And perhaps my 3 cats may appreciate that decision as well ......)


Better yet, you can play it with headphones. That way you get the volume you want and the neighbors hear nothing.



-- J.S.

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#2304301 - 07/20/14 08:06 AM Re: Renting A Piano [Re: JohnSprung]  
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MargaretUK Offline
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Originally Posted by JohnSprung
Originally Posted by MargaretUK
I also thought the same about the volume control as I live in a terraced house and am often up late at night so it's a valid consideration! (And perhaps my 3 cats may appreciate that decision as well ......)


Better yet, you can play it with headphones. That way you get the volume you want and the neighbors hear nothing.



Yes that's what I was thinking! smile

#2304320 - 07/20/14 08:44 AM Re: Renting A Piano [Re: MargaretUK]  
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Peter K. Mose Offline
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Margaret, welcome back to the keyboard! Get that piano home and start playing it - you'll wonder why you didn't do it sooner. If you have doubts about touch issues, hire a piano tuner to accompany you when you make your selection. Or bring a piano-playing friend along. I think you are fretting needlessly, though.

I also think you would prefer an acoustic upright Young Chang to a digital piano. The former will probably also include a middle pedal that allows extremely soft, late-night playing.

Good luck, and keep us posted!


Last edited by Peter K. Mose; 07/21/14 01:55 AM.
#2304330 - 07/20/14 09:50 AM Re: Renting A Piano [Re: MargaretUK]  
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Greener Offline

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Toronto, Canada

Choose the best one in terms of what you like to play now, fits your space, budget and looks nice. As others have suggested, your tastes will change as you advance, so worry about this later vs. trying to anticipate it.

Your pursuit of piano is similar to mine and many others here I suspect. Namely, playing for your own enjoyment with aspiration to improve over time. After playing 4 different Grand Pianos while in Lisbon for the recent EPP I can tell you that they were all way different. Thus, trying to find the perfect machine to practice on in preparation for the ultimate instrument we may play someday, is a silly pursuit in my opinion.

Play what you like now and upgrade when and if you feel it has become time.

I also believe you have chosen the best therapy available to mankind. Best of luck.

Edit: Also, maybe get a dog, or cat if possible.
Double Edit: Oh, see you already have 3 cats laugh. Well, maybe a dog then.


#2304340 - 07/20/14 10:48 AM Re: Renting A Piano [Re: Peter K. Mose]  
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MargaretUK Offline
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Originally Posted by Peter K. Mose
Margaret, welcome back to the keyboard! Get that piano home and start playing it - you'll wonder why you didn't do it sooner. If you have doubts about touch issues, hire a piano tuner to accompany you when you make your selection. Or bring a piano-playing friend along. I think you are fretting needlessly, though.

I also think you would prefer an acoustic upright Young Chang to a digital piano. The former will probably also include a middle pedal that allow extremely soft, late-night playing.

Good luck, and keep us posted!



Thank you Peter! The piano does indeed include a middle pedal and the dealer did mention that as well. I'm beginning to come round to the whole idea now and am definitely excited about getting back into it all - just hoping I don't find the touch frustrating to begin with.

Time to get out to the shed and have a rummage to find the sheet music I've carried about with me for the last 40 years but have ordered Ludovico Einaudi's 'Islands' collection from Amazon just in case it doesn't materialise! grin

#2304344 - 07/20/14 10:51 AM Re: Renting A Piano [Re: Greener]  
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MargaretUK Offline
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Originally Posted by Greener


Double Edit: Oh, see you already have 3 cats laugh. Well, may be a dog then.



And I've got one of those as well! 3 moggies and a black lab. If it's anything like when I go on the pc and find a pair of paws have typed a whole e-mail for me in cat language, I'll be lucky if I ever get through a complete piece of music! laugh


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