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I'm currently playing an MP10. At first I loved the weight of the action because it helped me adapt to some fairly heavy Steinway actions that I was using in class. However I've since learned that I have carpal tunnel syndrome and have become a bit sensitive to the RM3 action.

I recall spending a minute or two on a DP at the store which had the GF action (longer keys) and thinking it felt lighter and a bit 'bouncier' - less impactful at the end of the key stroke. At that time I preferred my MP10, but now I have different thoughts.

I know I liked the RHII action back then, but can't recall if it felt any lighter/softer than the MP10 as I never got to play them side-by-side. I see that the newer versions have counter balanced keys? Does the plastic action play any lighter?

Obviously I need to experience this for myself, but I'd like to hear your thoughts on the DPs I'm looking at:

ES8 vs MP7
CN35 vs CA67

MP11 is not on the list due to lack of organ tones. I guess I should add that this is for home use. The MP7 is overkill in features for home use, but if it results in a super sweet piano tone, it could be worth it.

I have external speakers but would like something more 'clean' looking than the MP series. Once I'm playing the sound overpowers the aesthetics, but the wires/cables/portable stand take away from the piano experience for me. Obviously that comes at a cost.

Are the on-board speakers satisfying in the cabinet models?

Sorry this is long and scattered - there's just so many good options from Kawai these days!

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Joe, I traded in the CN35 for the CA97 because I wanted a realistic key action. Now, don't misunderstand, the CN35 is very good DP. But the reason Kawai brands the CA series as a hybrid is the longer wood keys. The key feels the same when you press it at the top, as it does as the bottom. The key action of the 67 is exactly the same if that is what you want. As for the internal sound, it has a 100 watt speaker system. However the 97 soundboard is worth the extra $$. And it is a lot of $$ extra. It's funny but I enjoy practicing with the Upright Piano sound the most. For a clean look; unless you really want the new SK concert sounds, you might want to look at a CS7. I could have purchased the CS10 for the same price at the CA97 because it was replaced with the CS11. I think the only difference is those SK samples, which do sound superb.

Last edited by Tom LC; 07/10/16 04:53 PM.

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Try them out - if possible over a period of time. Maybe a dealer with a good return policy. I've not played the MP10 to know what the difference is, but since you mention loving the action at first, I wonder if there's something in your technique you could work on instead of purchasing something else.

I understand that some actions will cause problems for some people, and so I'm not denying that. But perhaps a good test would be if you can try practicing on another instrument for a period of a week at the level/amount of playing you were doing on the MP10 and if you experience any of the carpal tunnel pain at any time, stop immediately, and seek to work with a teacher who can help you correct your technical problems.

Just a thought, and the new Kawais are certainly very good, but you do run the risk of having issues with any piano if you haven't determined if it's the piano or your technique that's the root of the problem.


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Originally Posted by Morodiene
. . .

Just a thought, and the new Kawais are certainly very good, but you do run the risk of having issues with any piano if you haven't determined if it's the piano or your technique that's the root of the problem.


+1 !


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Thanks. I will definitely try out as much as I can. I have worked with a piano teacher on technique (and have had related training at work). Unfortunately I'm at the point where my doctor wants me to have surgery, so I'm just trying to do whatever I can to take some of the load off my hands. I'm not expecting a huge difference, but I do a lot with my hands so every little bit helps. I should note that I knew something was going on with my hands before I started playing piano, so playing is definitely not the cause, and I've focused on not making things worse since I started playing.

One hope/thought I have is about the trade-up policy: I bought my MP10 2 years and 4mos ago, and there was a policy that I could get 100% of the purchase back toward another instrument if it is 2x the price, if it was within 2 years. That would get me into the range of the CA97, otherwise I don't know that I would get much for a straight up trade-in value.

Tom, good idea about checking on the price of the CS7. Kawai has it listed on their site as basically the same MSRP as the CS8. If I could get a few hundo off the price, and get the 24mos trade-up, it could become a reality...

Does anyone know what the touch weight is on the GF action? I measured the MP10 and got about 63g to 78g, and with a strong up-weight of about 18g less.

Last edited by Joe Garfield; 07/10/16 05:49 PM.
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To follow up on what Morodiene wrote, I think it's important to know if your technique is the root cause of your problem and not the piano.

If you have pain\tension\discomfort\tightness\whatever in your top forearm muscles, you're playing using the wrong set of muscles, period.

I had to relearn how to play all over again close to 40 years ago when I was 28 or so. It was depressing but I survived.

I can now easily spot those who play using more effort than is required ... and playing with the least amount of effort is not intuitive. There's more to technique than what I wrote but your top forearm muscles are a good place to start.

All the best ...


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I don't necessarily have much pain when I play. Last night I was playing a passage with a bass lead, requiring my 3 and 4 fingers to play a bunch of 1/8 notes. It was hard (impossible) to play it fast enough and keep it smooth, due to lack of strength in my hands. It's not just piano, I drop stuff all the time now and just don't have strength in my hands anymore like I used to. The MP10 action is heavier than 99% of all other pianos (acoustic and digital) that I've played. I'm not at all complaining about it, just looking for something a little lighter. I used to care that I had the strength to play the grands at the conservatory, but now I just care about being able to play what I want, when I want, when I'm at home.

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Originally Posted by Joe Garfield
It was hard (impossible) to play it fast enough and keep it smooth, due to lack of strength in my hands. It's not just piano, I drop stuff all the time now and just don't have strength in my hands anymore like I used to.

Looks like decompression surgery of your carpal tunnel is the only solution - you really don't want to leave that too long, otherwise muscle wasting may be permanent.


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Hello Joe,

I'm afraid I don't really have a great deal to offer on this topic, however I wish you all the best with your operation/treatment.

Kind regards,
James
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Joe,

I feel your pain (literally....!) I am a trained classical artist but have carpal tunnel due to three reasons....having bad technique growing up (didn't start classical training until I was 16), typing a lot in an office job for 3 1/2 years and playing my Kawai Mp-9500 too hard with the volume softer....not realizing that I was keybedding because of it. On a real grand I never had trouble because it is always "full volume". But on a digital it becomes very easy to overwork if the volume is too low. Before I realized where the pain was coming from I had done damage. Key bedding playing Rach, Shostakovich, etc....not so good. As others have stated you definitely need to examine your technique to see the source.

However, I will tell you that I am looking for a new digital for the same reason. I tried the new CA97 and a CA10. I liked both tremendously but noticed that I still felt pain with the CA97. For me anyway it seems like there is not enough bounce back once you play a key. So I tried others...
My favorite without a doubt was the Roland LX-17. The action never hurt, it was very relaxed to play and I felt much much better. What's funny of course is that it is not as authentic as the Kawai (the Kawai with it's long keys using pure gravity). But - overall it was the best for me to play. I tried the CA97 again - same results. So...I love the Kawai and really would have loved to upgrade to the newer action but with the sensitivity in my wrists it didn't work. Please try the roland HP and LX series - it might do the trick. I found it was even better than playing an Avant Grand for me - simply because you need to work a lot less to play and also it is much much easier for quick repetitions which amounts to less strain on your arm.

All of the digitals have pros/cons...and I like digitals by Yamaha, Kawai and Roland. I think the trick in your situation is finding what works to aggravate your wrists the least. I can also happily tell you that I have been holding surgery at bay pretty well being more aware of the exact movements I am making and not overworking as another poster said. You might try physical therapy, alexander technique, body mapping by Thomas Mark and some light weight training. Doing wrist curls and reverse wrist curls (with a very light weight) seems to alleviate some of the problem. You can also get a topical anti-inflammatory was does wonders. I have found that putting that on or taking ibuprofen before playing really helps. Then of course use ice after playing for a while (taking frequent breaks) and see if you can have someone massage your wrists and forearms some after playing. Do make sure though to be under a doctor's care. I actually have a hand doctor. You definitely want to keep an eye on it so that you don't atrophy the muscles as another person said.

I hope this is helpful - God bless smile

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Thanks everyone for the advice on helping me manage this condition. It's really disheartening as I'm still in my 30's and extremely hands-on in nature, but at least I have access to whatever resources I will need to continue to manage it (finding down time is the hardest part).

I'd like to steer this back to the pianos since I need to figure out for myself if the actions will be an improvement.

Assuming the CS10 is above my price range:

*CA97 vs CS7? Is that basically trading the soundboard for a fancier cabinet? Is the CS7 cabinet at least built like a real piano?

*ES8 vs MP7?

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No problem Joe...my point with the Kawai that I was trying to indicate was that as a long time Kawai digital owner I did not find the new actions any better (in terms of relief to mitigate the problem - they are much better overall than the generation of grand action I own from them). So....if you are having problems with the Mp10 which is newer than what I have I don't think in your case the newer Mp11 or GF2 even will help. They are wonderful actions or someone with no issues though. Are you set on Kawai? I was set on upgrading Kawai as well until I spent time with the new instruments (also played the MP11) and realized I still would have problems. I mentioned the new Roland HP/LX series as a suggestion in my original answer. Are those possibly a consideration?

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Hi, are you tried the Kawai MP7?... Regards!.

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An idea, FWIW:

Buy a Yamaha DP with a "GHS" action, and "real MIDI" jacks (the P95 is an example), and use it to drive your MP10.

The GHS action isn't really "like a grand piano", but it's fully weighted, and nice and light to play. You might find something for rent -- you'd know, after a week, or at most a month, whether it was working for you or not.

That won't _solve_ your carpal-tunnel problem, but it might let you keep practicing in spite of it.



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I know this probably will not help much in terms of actually practicing on a weighted action, but have you considered semi-weighted keys? I also have been diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome and I had a small procedure done last month. My DP is a Casio Privia PX-5s and while the action is good, it does bother my wrists when playing the onboard sounds. However it does not bother me that much when playing virtual instruments because I can modify the sensitivity curve to something softer.

Anyway I rambled a bit there. I actually am practicing in a semi-weighted midi controller I use for church and while not as expressive, it does allow me to practice pain-free for hours. Sure enough I also modified the sensitivity curve a bit to accomodate for my comfort, but it is better than to have pain in your wrists while practicing.


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Originally Posted by JohnnyReb
No problem Joe...my point with the Kawai that I was trying to indicate was that as a long time Kawai digital owner I did not find the new actions any better (in terms of relief to mitigate the problem - they are much better overall than the generation of grand action I own from them). So....if you are having problems with the Mp10 which is newer than what I have I don't think in your case the newer Mp11 or GF2 even will help. They are wonderful actions or someone with no issues though. Are you set on Kawai? I was set on upgrading Kawai as well until I spent time with the new instruments (also played the MP11) and realized I still would have problems. I mentioned the new Roland HP/LX series as a suggestion in my original answer. Are those possibly a consideration?


Thanks Johnny. One reason I'm pulled toward Kawai is because of the chance of a trade-up. The dealer I got my MP10 from sells pretty much only Kawai so I don't think I could get the full value toward a Roland. But I will explore private sales and trade-in at other places if I find something else I like. I will check out the Rolands.

I personally feel that I'll find what I'm looking for with one of the other Kawai actions. I found a few random threads sprinkled around that mentioned the GF seeming a little lighter (one member posted the weights of his MP11 which was lighter than my MP10). I also read that the RF action plays a little lighter, so I'll do some exploring.

Adding 10g to the tips of the MP10 keys helps, but slows the action down a bit. I'm thinking a 10g lighter action that is properly balanced would play nice.

As I said, I'm not looking for a cure for my issues, just something a little lighter than the MP10.

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Joe - I see you're a fellow Ohioan. I took a trip a Solich piano in Boardman (near Youngstown) a while back and found they had several home/console Kawai and Roland digital pianos to try, as well as a few acoustic ones I quickly used for comparison. I believe they also have a shop around Columbus, but I haven't been there.

They didn't have any stage/slab-type DPs, however (I don't know of anyplace near me that stocks ES8s or RD-800s).

I thought I'd mention it as it's the only place I've found that has several home digital pianos available and next to each other, which for me was enlightening. (I was considering buying one for my birthday this month, but some other family-related expenses popped up).

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Hello Joe,

In response to your queries:

Originally Posted by Joe Garfield
*CA97 vs CS7? Is that basically trading the soundboard for a fancier cabinet? Is the CS7 cabinet at least built like a real piano?


Yes and No. The CS7 cabinet is ebony polish, however the instrument consists of two sections: the main keyboard part and the stand/pedals. The CA97 is sold in a wood finish, however because of the wooden soundboard speaker, is manufactured and shipped as a single piece instrument.

This is the CA97 in the 'Premium Satin Black' finish:
[Linked Image]

This is the CS8 (similar cabinet to the CS7) in the 'Ebony Polish' finish:
[Linked Image]

The appearance/finish of the instrument is one factor, however I would argue that the CA97 is more desirable than the CS7 due to the 'Grand Feel II' keyboard action, latest Shigeru Kawai SK-EX and SK5 samples, and of course the soundboard speaker system.

Originally Posted by Joe Garfield
*ES8 vs MP7?


While the two models are both slab-type instruments, their intended purpose is a little different. The ES8 is a portable piano with built-in speakers, the excellent RHIII keyboard action and the same Harmonic Imaging XL piano sounds as the latest CA and CS models. The MP7 is strictly intended as a stage piano and therefore omits the built-in speakers. This instrument utilises the slightly older RHII keyboard action (and therefore lacks the counterweights embedded within the keys), and does not feature the latest Shigeru Kawai piano sounds, but does offer a wider selection of sounds and extensive MIDI controller functionality.

I hope this helps.

Kind regards,
James
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I got to play some Yamaha keyboards (Celviano and Avant Grand), along with some acoustics and an older Kawai plastic action. It was refreshing! I'd much rather play my MP10 than almost any other digital or acoustic smile The Yamaha hybrid keys seemed a little faster, not necessarily lighter at first but they didn't seem to push back quite as hard as the MP10.

Hopefully the other Kawai dealer has some newer DPs in stock. I think the longer keys will help since a lot of my playing is in line with the base of the black keys, and a little bit between them.

It was nice going into a shop knowing I've got an incredibly nice instrument at home and not feeling any pressure to make a decision.

After hearing the Yamaha cabinet piano sounds, and the older Kawai slab, it's hard to imagine being happy with any on-board sounds. Hopefully the CA97 would prove that wrong, but I wonder if it makes more sense to plan on using my monitors, regardless of the piano?

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Originally Posted by Kawai James
Hello Joe,

In response to your queries:

Yes and No. The CS7 cabinet is ebony polish, however the instrument consists of two sections: the main keyboard part and the stand/pedals. The CA97 is sold in a wood finish, however because of the wooden soundboard speaker, is manufactured and shipped as a single piece instrument.

The appearance/finish of the instrument is one factor, however I would argue that the CA97 is more desirable than the CS7 due to the 'Grand Feel II' keyboard action, latest Shigeru Kawai SK-EX and SK5 samples, and of course the soundboard speaker system.

Originally Posted by Joe Garfield
*ES8 vs MP7?


While the two models are both slab-type instruments, their intended purpose is a little different. The ES8 is a portable piano with built-in speakers, the excellent RHIII keyboard action and the same Harmonic Imaging XL piano sounds as the latest CA and CS models. The MP7 is strictly intended as a stage piano and therefore omits the built-in speakers. This instrument utilises the slightly older RHII keyboard action (and therefore lacks the counterweights embedded within the keys), and does not feature the latest Shigeru Kawai piano sounds, but does offer a wider selection of sounds and extensive MIDI controller functionality.

I hope this helps.

Kind regards,
James
x


James, this was incredibly helpful - thank you. Would you mind one more comparison? Is the CS10 similar in sound/feel to the MP11? Same piano samples, same key bed? I know it doesn't have the latest as in the CA97 or CS11, but it might be a nice compromise (GF, HIXL, soundboard, ebony finish). Of course I don't know what my chances are of getting a CS10 for the price I'm willing to pay, but I'm going to find out within the next few days. Otherwise I'll decide between the CA97 and CA67.

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