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Hi,

So I recently purchased my first acoustic piano (an upright). I am already finding I use/need to use/should use much less pedal or indeed any pedal since switching.

My digital was by no means basic (Kawai MP-10) but I am finding a couple of things. I immediately noticed I was using waaaaay too much pedal on the acoustic. To be honest, this wasn't news to me, I was aware but found it difficult with the digital to get things sounding really joined up with little or no pedal.

Now with the acoustic if I pedal like I did on the digital I get far too much dissonant resonance and in fact playing legato I can gently use the pedal and take it out all together for some sections.

Did/does anyone else find this to be the case? Any tips on how to practice really cleaning up the pedalling on the acoustic. It occurred to me perhaps practicing pedalling more with the digital which is harder to join up might improve my acoustic pedalling even more, or is that a silly idea?

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You've found out what countless others have, when switching from digitals to acoustics. There are very few digitals that have sustain ability which approaches that of acoustics (because of the looping problem which becomes more apparent with long sustain), and it's easy to become complacent about pedaling on the former, when the sound dies out so quickly.

Now that you have your upright, you should spend as much of your practice time on it and listen intently to yourself: change pedal at every change in harmony where practicable, use your fingers to hold onto notes rather than the pedal if you can. And transfer that pedaling to the digital, if you still have to use it.


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Hi there! I think I know what you're talking about, and I don't think it's your pedaling, per se, as long as you learned it properly (pressing the pedal down before you hit the note and lifting etc). The difference in sound resonance between a digital and acoustic is, in my opinion, HUGE. You get WAY more sound out of an acoustic, so pedaling sounds much different. I have a Kawai KDP90 which is wonderful, but there's no comparison between that and my Yamaha upright. None at all. The Yamaha is louder, much more resonant, and the pedaling sound you get is like a hundred times more complex! So I had your exact thoughts about this, as well, and I think it just takes getting used to hearing it on the acoustic. The acoustic is the more "real" sound, if I can say it that way (not that digitals aren't real, but in the piano world, they kind of aren't, lol).

Just check your pedaling technique and if you're doing it properly, both in technique and to the guides in your music, then I think this is just sound shock going from digital to acoustic, and nothing to worry about. You'll get used to that huge sound!


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Sounds do linger more on an acoustic but the ears adapt. Many beginners over pedal once they get their foot there. To clean up your sound you might try listening consciously to your pedalling and you'll adjust to the acoustic quite quickly.

I don't know how much the MP-10 supports registrations with the Virtual Technician but I find setting the damper and string resonances on full with an artificially long sustain helps me to concentrate on the pedalling.

I have another registration with the lightest touch curve, loudest and brightest tone to encourage a better control of my pianissimo and the opposite to develop my fortissimo. One of the advantages of a digital is the ability to set up many characteristics that strengthen the technique and smooth out the transition to the greater unevenness and awkwardness of below par acoustics as well as to enjoy more the rewards of playing on a well maintained one.



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One thing to try on either is to go through a short piece with no pedal at all. Then go back and add only the minimum pedaling you need.



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Originally Posted by JohnSprung

One thing to try on either is to go through a short piece with no pedal at all. Then go back and add only the minimum pedaling you need.

Yes, plus always keep in mind that 95% of the time, legato is done with fingers and not with pedal. Pedal is for timbre and combination of pedals is for even wider range of colors...
the left pedal is 95% of the time used for color and not for "piano".. again, piano is achieved with fingers.

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Thanks for the tips. I have always got my lessons on an acoustic so I was aware of the issue but it's just doing it everyday makes me realise how much I need to adjust my approach.

The piano is pretty damn loud and resonant in and of itself (Steinway K)
@ebonykawai - I am starting to get used to it already but I am having to re-work sections of pieces I thought I had down.
@zrtf90 - I'll have a look into that.
@johnsprung - That's something I have already been doing for my pieces. Trying to get the legato sections as smooth as possible with no pedal then adding it in. I think it is the graciousness with which I add it I need to sort out. Before I would just start stomping away and generally it was ok, going to need to stop that (I really shouldn't have been doing it in the first place)

I hardly ever use the una corda on the digital anyway but that is the one sucky thing with the upright, the soft pedal totally messes with the action so that will take a lot of getting used to.

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Hi Sketches,
This is not surprising. For digital piano the decay can disappear much quicker than an acoustic piano so more pedaling is often necessary.

But secondly, (this probably goes without saying) but the pedal on a digital is binary- either on or off. There is no in between.

Whereas on an acoustic, (as I'm sure you seem to be aware), there is some middle ground, between full pedaling and no pedaling.

Transferring from the digital situation where you are always used to just plunking your foot down with full weight to an acoustic where you rarely want to do that can uncover technical issues with your pedaling.

The good news is you have reported already hearing the problems yourself and are aware it sounds too mushy. So I am confident with a little practice you will get used to using just-the-right-amount of pedal that you need.

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Originally Posted by blueston
But secondly, (this probably goes without saying) but the pedal on a digital is binary- either on or off. There is no in between.

Whereas on an acoustic, (as I'm sure you seem to be aware), there is some middle ground, between full pedaling and no pedaling.

Even mid-range digital pianos have a gradual pedal that allows half-pedaling. My CN-34 certainly does.

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Originally Posted by blueston
But secondly, (this probably goes without saying) but the pedal on a digital is binary- either on or off. There is no in between..


It depends on the digital. Some of the high end ones now offer partial pedal simulation. It's something you should test if you're looking to buy one.



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Originally Posted by Sketches
I hardly ever use the una corda on the digital anyway but that is the one sucky thing with the upright, the soft pedal totally messes with the action so that will take a lot of getting used to.


The thing to do is find some places where you can get some time in on grands. Una corda and sostenuto pretty much only work right on grands, and not on all of them. The more different instruments you get to play, the better you get at adapting to their quirks and personalities.



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Originally Posted by Sketches
My digital was by no means basic (Kawai MP-10) but I am finding a couple of things. I immediately noticed I was using waaaaay too much pedal on the acoustic. To be honest, this wasn't news to me, I was aware but found it difficult with the digital to get things sounding really joined up with little or no pedal.


You will also find that sympathetic resonances of 3rd, 5th, octaves, and everything in between significantly stronger and actually sympathetic and not non-existence to some generic echo like a DP. I think mostly the Digital Forum crowd want to hurt me every time I say it. They always say there is a setting for sympathetic resonance. You could turn it up. I've tried it at 100%, it's still basically non-existent, or plan old wrong compared to a real piano.

The way you would pedal also changes drastically on an acoustic piano, so much so that there are pieces where I wait until I have time on the acoustic before I would learn pedaling. It's not all pieces. Some very straight forward ones are fine to learn on the DP. Starting this year, my music is not as straight forward as I would expect. It's almost a waste of effort to learn it on the digital then only to re-learn everything again on the grand. When it comes to pedal, the DP really falls short.

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Originally Posted by Qazsedcft
Originally Posted by blueston
But secondly, (this probably goes without saying) but the pedal on a digital is binary- either on or off. There is no in between.

Whereas on an acoustic, (as I'm sure you seem to be aware), there is some middle ground, between full pedaling and no pedaling.

Even mid-range digital pianos have a gradual pedal that allows half-pedaling. My CN-34 certainly does.


I have a Roland RD-700GXF and forgot that it has half-pedal capabilities. I have never really noticed that feature was there because it rarely gets muddy enough for me to need to lift up half way. Frankly i still think comparing half pedaling on a digital to real continuous pedal on an acoustic is not even close to the same thing.

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Originally Posted by blueston

I have a Roland RD-700GXF and forgot that it has half-pedal capabilities. I have never really noticed that feature was there because it rarely gets muddy enough for me to need to lift up half way. Frankly i still think comparing half pedaling on a digital to real continuous pedal on an acoustic is not even close to the same thing.

There's a huge range among digitals, but among acoustics, it's even bigger. No two acoustic pianos' pedals (una corda and sustain) behave exactly the same way in terms of their 'gradualness' and travel.

As for digitals, my Roland V-Piano has continuous pedal on both the una corda and sustain (I can't tell on the sostenuto, because I rarely use it) - or has so many steps that to all intents and purposes, they're continuous. Therefore, I can adjust my pedaling in minute gradations, the same way I do on a good grand.


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Originally Posted by zrtf90
..... I find setting the damper and string resonances on full with an artificially long sustain helps me to concentrate on the pedalling.


Interesting thread. I have both a digital piano and an (old) acoustic upright. I agree with the consensus that there is a HUGE difference in the use of the sustain pedal(the only pedal I use) between the two.

My DP is highly configurable, and so is the VST software that I use with it. I've been trying to get the DP's overall "playing feel" to match or at least approximate my upright's - until now with little success.

Then I read the post (partially) quoted above - and a light went off! I adjusted the settings for both resonances (especially damper), and now the two match up much more closely.

Thanks!


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For me the biggest difference is that acoustics never stay 100% in tune for long and the sound keeps changing, while the digitals are just recorded sound that stays constant. So when you pedal, the acoustic sound may behave a bit differently each time and one must actually listen to the effect while playing to adjust the pedalling instead of just mechanically applying foot movements.

Also I find that most uprights that claim to have half pedalling are still far away from good grands in their ability to respond to small pedalling changes. Plus the soft pedal is just a joke...


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