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Some upright pianos have an extra pedal called a "practice" or "silent" pedal that weakens the sound so that one can avoid disturbing others.

Does anyone have experience with using this pedal during practice? Does it "work"? I currently live on the third floor of an old house and I don't want to disturb the people on the floors below me.

Am I better off getting a nicer digital piano, or can I safely go with an upright with a practice pedal?


Beethoven - Op.49 No.1 (sonata 19)
Czerny - Op.299 Nos. 5,7 (School of Velocity)
Liszt - S.172 No.2 (Consolation No.2)

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It depends on the piano to some extent, I have found.

I used the one on my Schimmel vertical extensively, when it was my primary practice piano. It quieted things down well enough for evening work without disturbing my neighbors in an apartment. Because things are so muffled, things don't "feel" quite the same when playing, but it's perfectly workable.

Some pianos use a practice mute that's thicker felt than others. I have found the less flexible, thicker material of certain brands sometimes causes adjacent notes to get brushed lightly, which you may find annoying. It's best to try this mechanism in-person to be sure (and listen for that issue) - it can be mitigated with a few minutes of creative tech work, I understand.


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My upright has one and it does a decent job, but the sound is an unsatisfying muffled one. If I knew I had to use it for the majority of my practice, I'd rather go the headphone route. For the occasional practice it does it's job.

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I had one on a Kawai upright I used to play. I used it regularly. It was effective in reducing the sound. It did muffle the tone, but I didn't find it annoying.

Overall, I considered it a successful feature and didn't mind playing with it.


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I have a upright piano from the 1970's yamaha that did not have a silent pedal. When I moved into my townhouse I worried about disturbing others since I do most of my practice at night. My piano tuner installed a mute strip. I love it. It has a switch you move on for mute and off for regular piano. The sound is much softer. It doesn't have the sound of the normal piano but I rather have the slightly muted sound than play a digital piano. Best thing is to go to a piano store and try the one's with the silent pedal.

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Hello Dwscamel

Celeste rails are OK if you simply want to practise hitting the right notes but you can wave goodbye to any nuances in tone and touch which is exactly what you do when you buy a digital. grin (well, this is the piano forum)

The celeste felt and its rail can be adjusted to minimise the irritation of the sound of the felt slapping on adjacent strings as mentioned by Terminal. Usually the simplest way is to ensure the felt is good quality, the correct thickness for each section of strings, is as close to the strings as possible and with the minimum amount of felt below the hammer strike point. When you've found a piano you like with a reasonable practice pedal, ask your dealer if it's worth experimenting with different types of celeste felt to discover the optimum compromise for you between sound reduction and loss of touch.

There are plenty of threads about sound insulation if you search the forum. Rubber castor cups, sound absorbing mats and foam panels behind the piano are the basic starters.



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Just to throw the idea out there (and it all depends on budget), have you considered buying a silent model upright piano that will allow you to play an electric piano with headphones in?

You get the best of both worlds that way. I have a Kawai upright with a practise pedal and whilst it's effective, like terminaldegree said, due to the sound being rather muffled, the feel of playing isn't quite the same.

This is just my suggestion but buying a silent model piano is going to far more expensive than finding an upright with a practise pedal.


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Is it a silent system that completely mutes the acoustic sound and allows you to play with headphones? Or is it a felt strip that just muffles the sound?

If it's the former, go for it. It's quite expensive (almost as much as a good digital piano), but you have the feel of your acoustic piano when playing.
If it's the latter, I don't recommend it. The muffled sound is not really satisfying, and if the neighbors live wall to wall with you they will still hear it.


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The celeste rail on my Yamaha muted the piano so much I could hardly hear it; unusable in my opinion. Since it has to be removed for tuning and I kept dropping the tiny screws I just removed it and stored it in a closet. For quiet practice I use my P255.

I did want to make my acoustic a little quieter for when I sing so I put some washers on the soft pedal stick (moves the hammers closer to the strings). Quiets it enough that I don't have to strain to be heard over the piano accomp but does increase the lost motion a bit.


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Originally Posted by Dwscamel
Am I better off getting a nicer digital piano, ....?


Yes. Given that you're on the third floor with many roommates, a slab digital with headphones is the way to go. A concert grand it ain't, but it'll sound better than an upright with a felt strip. Also a whole lot easier to get to and from the third floor when you move.

Find places (school, church, restaurant, etc.) where you can get a little time in on real acoustic pianos in addition to the digital, and you'll do fine.



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Thank you, everyone, for your helpful and thoughtful responses. The community at Pianoworld is its biggest strength.

I'll continue with the digital route for now, but I'm still aiming for an acoustic once it's practical! Either way, practice practice practice smile.


Beethoven - Op.49 No.1 (sonata 19)
Czerny - Op.299 Nos. 5,7 (School of Velocity)
Liszt - S.172 No.2 (Consolation No.2)

Dream piece:
Rachmaninoff - Sonata 2, movement 2 in E minor

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