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Has anyone here given up on their acoustic?
#2452812 08/21/15 09:34 PM
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Are there people here who are playing their digitals because their acoustics require (or required) too much maintenance? That one can dread maintenance in theory or give up on an old piano is self-obvious. My question is about the actual experience of current or recent owners of new (under 10 years or so) acoustic pianos. The draining effects of frequent tuning and persistent regulation needs are meant - whatever "frequent" and "persistent" mean to the individual who gave up because of this. Many thanks to all who respond.


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Re: Has anyone here given up on their acoustic?
Ivan M. #2452816 08/21/15 09:46 PM
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Nah, an acoustic piano will last many many years if maintained. Much longer than electrical components, extensive use of plastic, anything that requires rubber or silicone that dry out and lose adhesiveness or flexibility. Acoustics don't require much... Control the temperature and humidity and have it tuned with the changing seasons. Eventually it will need new felts, strings, maybe a hammer shaft, tuning block. But all this can be done and if you start with a worthy instrument to begin with, it's possible to pass it down to the next generation of family. And if that's not your goal, you can sell it for a few grand when you're done with it or donate it to a church or something.

Digitals have many advantages. No tuning, silent practice, in some cases they are better than cheap acoustics. If you're looking for a cheap acoustic, you should consider a digital in some cases. But they have a shorter life span and don't retain value because each year they come out with better ones at better price points.


Re: Has anyone here given up on their acoustic?
Ivan M. #2452826 08/21/15 10:17 PM
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There's nothing that can replace the feel of my acoustic. Nothing. It's not just sound, but also the tactile file of the vibrations, reverberations, and the shake the foundation of the house type feel. I'll not give it up until they pry it away from me.


Keys: Yamaha GC2, Casio Privia PX-3, Roland RD800, Alesis VI61, Pianoteq 6.0
My motto: Play and Let Play!
Re: Has anyone here given up on their acoustic?
Ivan M. #2452830 08/21/15 10:41 PM
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I have to say I would have been happy in my little digital world forever until I woke up one day not too long ago and found a baby grand in my living room. Not that I intend to ever give up my CP4. Can't bother the neighbors too much. But it just ain't the same.



Re: Has anyone here given up on their acoustic?
David Farley #2452835 08/21/15 11:03 PM
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Originally Posted by David Farley
I have to say I would have been happy in my little digital world forever until I woke up one day not too long ago and found a baby grand in my living room. ...


Somebody obviously loves you very much -- you lucky guy!


Keys: Yamaha GC2, Casio Privia PX-3, Roland RD800, Alesis VI61, Pianoteq 6.0
My motto: Play and Let Play!
Re: Has anyone here given up on their acoustic?
Ivan M. #2452839 08/21/15 11:22 PM
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I gave away my Wurlitzer spinet that I had owned for many years towards a Casio AP-620 (first cabinet style choice) although quickly upgraded to another digital when I found out the Casio's decay was too short and it also had a pedal resonance issue.

I now have three (3) flagship digitals which includes the V-Piano and Clavinova's CLP-585 / CLP-990.

As good as digital technology may be the acoustic piano cannot be replicated.

Try playing this finger buster on your digital:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ClDFmFmr0k

(Audience in trance at 18 seconds)

Re: Has anyone here given up on their acoustic?
Ivan M. #2452845 08/21/15 11:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Ivan M.
My question is about the actual experience of current or recent owners of new (under 10 years or so) acoustic pianos. The draining effects of frequent tuning and persistent regulation needs are meant - whatever "frequent" and "persistent" mean to the individual who gave up because of this.


For an acoustic piano, under 10 years is practically brand new. The only reason you would experience "draining effects" of maintenance is that the piano is either really old or wasn't very well made (cheap) or both.

I spend the same amount maintaining a $5K upright compared to a $35K grand since maintenance is labor and it cost the same either way. Sometimes a really cheap piano is more troublesome and could cost more to maintain.

Re: Has anyone here given up on their acoustic?
Ivan M. #2452852 08/22/15 01:04 AM
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I was brought up on a straight strung Britixh made piano. It never needed tuning, though it happened. The piano tuner was blind, he might as well ve been deaf, the piano sounded the same after hed finished. It was a clear tone, and quite loud.
Twas in the eighties when DPs were making their presence felt. And I had a go on the Yam Clp550 and was transported into a heaven like place. Quite simply the best piano id ever played. They fetch £400 on ebay today. Whether id still loke it, i dont know. . . .


"I am not a man. I am a free number"

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Re: Has anyone here given up on their acoustic?
Ivan M. #2452860 08/22/15 01:53 AM
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Nope. Any young and halfway decent acoustic piano will impress you so much more than a digital piano that the very moderate costs of maintenance (which are sometimes grossly overstated on this forum) won't turn you away. There may be other convincing reasons to go digital but maintenance costs are not one of them.

Whenever I compare the total cost of ownership of my acoustic upright with the total cost of the series of digitals I owned, the acoustic wins because of its sheer longevity. Things are a bit different with the grand I acquired a few years ago, but again, maintenance costs are very very moderate (ca. 100 Euros per year) and actually about the same as for my upright which is nearing the age of a century.


Shigeru Kawai SK-2, etc.
Re: Has anyone here given up on their acoustic?
Ivan M. #2452872 08/22/15 03:27 AM
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Define "halfway decent" or "not cheap" in a new piano. Is a Yamaha B1 or Kawai K15 cheap, because they are the entry uprights? Or is it Hailun, because they start at half that price?

I doubt that people get rid of an acoustic because of maintenance, because what I see is not that people exchange acoustic for DP, but they simply stop maintaining their acoustic. The sound becomes funny and they notice or they don't, in any case they do not care enough to have it tuned.

Then maybe they get an DP in addition so that the darn teenager can be asked to keep quiet. Or their neighbors demand it :-) Or they become parents still want to practice at odd hours.

You spend >3000 EUR on an upright, you spend >50 EUR / month for lessons, what are one or two session of 80 EUR / year for tuning. Its not the money. Its the hassle of maintenance logistics. And the piano does not immediately go out of tune very much, so you just let it slide, and slide some more...


Kawai CN35. Daughter wanted a piano, so we got one. Now who'll learn faster? ;-)
Re: Has anyone here given up on their acoustic?
Ivan M. #2452874 08/22/15 03:37 AM
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For me, halfway decent starts among new pianos with Kawai K3, Yamaha U1 and the like, perhaps including some of the better Chinese pianos (I do not have first hand experience with any of them). In addition there are many halfway decent uprights in the used market from a large number of manufacturers. "Decent" would start (among new uprights) with the larger Kawais and Yamahas, or a Seiler etc., and up from there (for a wealth of information see the "Piano Buyer" linked on this site)...

PS. Any person who is not maintaining her or his acoustic piano when it needs it is not interested in music, obviously.

Re: Has anyone here given up on their acoustic?
Ivan M. #2452879 08/22/15 05:43 AM
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I gave up owning an acoustic cause of size restraints. I decided in 2011 that grand action on N2 was more important to me that the sound of my upright. Can't fit a grand in my tiny house built in 1800.


AG N2 | ES 110 | REFACE CP | GK MK & MP amps
Re: Has anyone here given up on their acoustic?
Ivan M. #2452900 08/22/15 08:03 AM
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Having never owned an acoustic piano, I can safely answer "no" to the OPs question. However, when selecting my DP, I listened to some of those in these forums who own a V-Piano when some commented that the transition between DP and AP (acoustic piano) seemed easier because the interaction between player and V-Piano seemed much more similar to AP than do other DPs (or at least did at the time of my purchase). I figure that when I get good enough to play in front of other people someday (I am teaching myself to play at this point), I will most likely encounter APs. For example, my wife needs to go to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN from time to time. They have several APs there for the public to play, though at the hospitals near us, they have DPs (Yamaha Clavinova).

To me (not necessary for others to agree or disagree), current DP technology in general among the big names (Kawai, Roland, Yamaha, Casio) provides for a very nice instrument that I could be happy with for a long time. I suppose since the DP is really a sort of replacement for an AP (i.e. its purpose is to be a "piano" rather than a synthesizer such as the Roland Jupiter-80 and such), many threads in this sub-forum discuss in minute detail how DPs differ from APs and what needs to improve to make such differences less noticeable to both player and listener.

I was "pursued", to put it kindly, in another thread when I said that I thought today's DPs are "good enough" to satisfy most people. I use that term only because the DP's purpose is as a "piano" rather than being its own, completely different, instrument like a synthesizer or organ, or whatever, is, so there will always be that comparison between a DP and the AP instruments it is supposed to be emulating. I think DPs these days do it very well (i.e. they sound very piano-like overall and the keyboards generally have a nice feel to them). They are certainly good enough that certain places that once had APs may now substitute DPs. I have seen that in churches and hospitals, for example.

People outside this forum that I personally know who have DPs, seem perfectly content with their instruments. They are typically hobbyist/casual, even serious, players or gigging musicians needing portable instruments or instruments they consider maintenance free and capable of being played without disturbing anybody within earshot. Also, as has been mentioned, today one can purchase a perfectly sensible DP for a price that would fetch an AP that would probably not be of very good quality or might be in need of serious repairs.

If I were a serious player in the sense that the differences, such as they are, between an AP and a DP were some sort of deal breaker (i.e. a concert pianist or otherwise a pro who absolutely required an AP), then maybe in that circumstance I would not choose a DP. But for me, especially living in a condo, I am more than satisfied with my DP. I have a neighbor who has a baby grand AP in his living room. I think it is a Baldwin. He gets complaints if he plays in the evening. I have no problem with it, but there are some who seem to be bothered by most anything, even though his playing is really not particularly loud, and is rather good. I think he could benefit from a DP. Someday, I will ask him over to try mine. Maybe the new modelling Roland DPs being discussed in another thread would suit him particularly well when they become available.

Tony


Last edited by TonyB; 08/22/15 08:07 AM.

Roland V-Grand
Re: Has anyone here given up on their acoustic?
TonyB #2453048 08/22/15 06:37 PM
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Actually my CP4 & CP5 have been seeing more use as of late for one simple reason.

I've been working on my vocals , fairly hard, monitoring with headphones. So obviously the digital piano works better for that. I don't particularly care for the sound of an acoustic , miced (even though I have a pair of DPA 4011s) and through headphones. I'd rather hear it naturally.

I've found the CP4 is just more in your face and detailed , along with being less harsh in higher mids and high registers then the CP5. The CP5 makes a helluva 55 lb. drum machine though... laugh

But regarding maintenance on my piano. Yes I've invested quite a bit in high end tunings, along with regulation and voicing. But it's at a very high level for performance and recording.


https://soundcloud.com/dave-ferris

2005 NY Steinway D
Yamaha CP4
Re: Has anyone here given up on their acoustic?
Ivan M. #2453064 08/22/15 08:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Ivan M.
The draining effects of frequent tuning and persistent regulation needs are meant - whatever "frequent" and "persistent" mean to the individual who gave up because of this. Many thanks to all who respond.


No "draining effects" for me.

My U3 comes with a humidity control system pre-installed, so I don't need to worry about humidity effects. In Singapore, Yamaha provides it as a standard item in the purchase; I don't have to top up to get it.

After that, I just tune my acoustic piano every 6 months.

99% of the time, just enjoy, enjoy, enjoy...



Re: Has anyone here given up on their acoustic?
Ivan M. #2453079 08/22/15 09:12 PM
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after reading the posts i come to the conclusion that most of us prefer acoustic pianos ( or straight pianos as the Who referred to in a song). I personally have a 1997 Baldwin Hamilton that I love. I can play it more expressively than my Kawai MP7 or my ES7. But it is hard to practice something that loud without waking folks or disturbing them. So I do have a Kawai ES7 that I use with Headphones. So the Baldwin does not get as much time as I would like to give it. It holds a tune and there is nothing to do maintenance wise other than a 6 month tuning. We are moving from Louisiana to Houston, TX next month and the house we have a contract on has a wonderful spot for the Baldwin. It sounds great, has a wonderful action and looks great. Although the Digital wins in transporting. I do not have to depend on the "house" piano for playing gigs. Short answer I will always have an acoustic piano and at least one good digital.


Last edited by FrankDaddy; 08/22/15 09:13 PM.
Re: Has anyone here given up on their acoustic?
Ivan M. #2453088 08/22/15 09:37 PM
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Exactly, truth be told.. there are a lot of pros and avid hobbyists who own both an acoustic and a digital (and stage piano, and a synth or three, maybe a hammond organ, etc. etc.). Nothing sounds and plays like a well made, in tune, properly humidified acoustic piano. There are many many reasons to own a digital - but digital developers are working very hard to replicate acoustic instruments (be it by extensive sampling sessions, or mathematical models) for a reason. To me the debate of which is better is pointless. There are reasons to own both, and if you can own both, you should! If your circumstances do not allow, that's an unfortunate part of life that we all deal with at different times (finances, living space, family, neighbors, priorities, obligations, etc.).

Again, on OP's question. Maintenance is not that big a deal. Get it tuned at least twice a year (if your ears beg of it, do so more), don't let it get too dry or too damp in the room where you keep it. Play!




Re: Has anyone here given up on their acoustic?
Ivan M. #2453133 08/23/15 02:32 AM
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+1 to the last two posts.


Shigeru Kawai SK-2, etc.
Re: Has anyone here given up on their acoustic?
ElmerJFudd #2453213 08/23/15 10:48 AM
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Originally Posted by ElmerJFudd
Exactly, truth be told.. there are a lot of pros and avid hobbyists who own both an acoustic and a digital (and stage piano, and a synth or three, maybe a hammond organ, etc. etc.).

Who can afford it, most likely owns both. Who can't have
Quote
a well made, in tune, properly humidified acoustic piano

may consider themself lucky enough to have access to a digital. So the whole pro and con discussion isn't really that useful.


Richwood RD-17C-CE | LaMancha Rubi CM-N | Yamaha P-515
Re: Has anyone here given up on their acoustic?
JoeT #2453233 08/23/15 12:10 PM
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Different tools for different jobs, I think.

The only situation where I was forced to give up on my acoustic had more to do with the situation and my own foolishness.

Years ago, we got a vacation mountain place -- you know, a place to go to relax. Well, the way I relax requires 88 keys, so I bought a new Yamaha U1. Worked for a while, and then ...

The weather changed frequently, throwing the darn thing out of tune. The dealer who sold to us closed shop (as are most dealers these days), leaving us on our own to find a piano tuner.

Couldn't find one that was any good and willing to make the drive.

So the darn thing was out-of-tune most of the time. And that's no fun to play.

I found another dealer, and traded in the U1 for a Yamaha Avant Grand N3. A far better instrument, truth be told. And it never, ever goes out of tune.

We sold the vacation place years ago, and now the N3 sits in my living room. I don't miss having a "real" grand piano. Every time I sit down to play, it sounds great. Keep in mind, I've spent plenty of time on midrange grand pianos.

Side note: I play in bands, and use digital pianos for that, along with organs, synths, etc. Great instruments, but not the same.


Life is too short to be playing bad music.

Practice: Bosie 200, Yam N3
Live: Nord Piano 4, Stage 3 Compact
Amps: QSC K.2s, RCF TT08-s, FA 12-ac, CPS SSv3
Support: STAY stands, X-Air mixers, Vent II, etc
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