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Acoustic vs Digital Piano #2608274
01/25/17 09:00 AM
01/25/17 09:00 AM
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molgra Offline OP
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Hi, I'm currently studying for Grade VI piano and I was wondering if I need to change my digital piano. The piano I have is an entry level Yamaha Clavinova. Up until recently, it has served me fine, but when taking my Grade V I noticed that there are techniques that I am shown on an acoustic upright in my lessons that cannot be replicated on my DP at home. My problem is I have a very small budget and do not know whether I am better suited staying with what I have or buying a cheap acoustic upright. The DP is handy as I often play when the kids are in bed and am able to use headphones. I have looked at silent pianos but they are out of my budget (which would be about 800 max). Any advice greatly appreciated.

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Re: Acoustic vs Digital Piano [Re: molgra] #2608277
01/25/17 09:09 AM
01/25/17 09:09 AM
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Minneapolis
SonatainfSharp Offline
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You can get an amazing used upright for $800 if you put the work into your search. I once had a student get a perfect-condition, high quality (studio!) upright for FREE, simply because the person wanted it out of their house a.s.a.p. I had my student's parents meet a tech to make sure it was worth moving, and it was, and the dad had a few buddies come over and took the piano then and there.

(I have also had students spend over $1000 on junk, but they were "fallboard chasers" and wanted their piano to be a certain brand, no matter what, even though they are often stencils!)

I used to say that even the worst upright piano is better than a digital piano, but that is exaggerating a bit, of course, but the point being a digital just can't replace an acoustic piano. (I know some people can't help it, just like I can't get a grand piano to work, despite desperately "needing" one for decades.) So keep the digital for logistical reasons (late at night playing), but get the best upright you can for $800. There is certainly one out there for you. Keep enough money to pay a tech to look at it and professionals to move it, though, or save separate funds for those things.

P.S. Are you sure you have to play quietly when the kids are in bed? If they are young enough, they might actually sleep better while you play. Mine do, as do many kids of my music-playing friends. It's like reassurance to the kids to subconsciously know you are around...


I do music stuffs
Yep, I have a YouTube channel!
Charles Walter 1500 in semi-polish ebony [2017]
Re: Acoustic vs Digital Piano [Re: molgra] #2608278
01/25/17 09:10 AM
01/25/17 09:10 AM
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Well my daughter has been playing 3 years (she's 9 and a half) and now she's running into passages that she can't play properly on our yamaha acoustic upright which are just fine on a grand piano. She's tried several other uprights and grands and its the same problem, so its more action specific and not piano. Please keep that in mind.

Re: Acoustic vs Digital Piano [Re: molgra] #2608283
01/25/17 09:18 AM
01/25/17 09:18 AM
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molgra Offline OP
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Thanks for the advice, it's good to know that there could be decent acoustics out there for that budget. I would definitely need to bring someone with me, as not a clue myself what to watch out for. Might be worth trying out a few in music shops too I guess, so I can see which actions feel better.

Re: Acoustic vs Digital Piano [Re: molgra] #2608286
01/25/17 09:25 AM
01/25/17 09:25 AM
Joined: Jun 2005
Posts: 652
Minneapolis
SonatainfSharp Offline
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Originally Posted by molgra
Might be worth trying out a few in music shops too I guess, so I can see which actions feel better.

No, this might not work. YAMAHA is known to be pretty consistent from piano to piano, but most pianos will feel specific to the piano at hand, especially used. For example, when I was Charles Walter shopping, there were two used pianos side by side, and the action was so different it was crazy (one was still factory set which felt great, and the other had someone messing with it and it was just awful).


I do music stuffs
Yep, I have a YouTube channel!
Charles Walter 1500 in semi-polish ebony [2017]
Re: Acoustic vs Digital Piano [Re: molgra] #2608397
01/25/17 02:40 PM
01/25/17 02:40 PM
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A lot depends on where you are. Here in LA, the great $800 piano is very rare. There are dealers and rebuilders who jump on them the instant they hit Craig's List.

Do look at acoustic pianos both new and used at local piano stores, and try some digitals at a Guitar Center or Sam Ash. Get a feel for the retail market first, then decide.



-- J.S.

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Re: Acoustic vs Digital Piano [Re: molgra] #2608403
01/25/17 03:07 PM
01/25/17 03:07 PM
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Being through the piano search process recently, what I can tell you is that you need patience if you want a good deal in used pianos. If you want to buy a decent used piano under $1K, you most definitely have to buy it from a private seller. The problem, however, is that dealers and some piano technicians are also monitoring Craigslist and other local classified ads for good deals. Because they have the capacity to repair pianos, they are less worried about minor issues. When they see a good deal they will grab it quickly.

What I would recommend you do is to try out as many pianos as possible at your local piano dealers. The more pianos you have played, the more you will know what you like and dislike in terms of tone and touch. At the same time, equip yourself with the knowledge of piano construction and structure by reading books like Larry Fine's "The Piano Book: Buying & Owning a New or Used Piano", John Bishop's "Piano Manual: Buying, Using and Maintaining a Piano" and Arthur A. Reblitz's "Piano Servicing, Tuning, and Rebuilding: For the Professional, the Student, and the Hobbyist". That way, you know how to look for major problems when inspecting a used piano yourself.

Once you know what you are looking for and how to look for major piano problems, you will at least have some confidence on your ability to strike a used piano deal. Of course, it is always wise to hire a professional piano technician to inspect the piano you want to buy, but that costs money. Plus, don't forget the cost of piano moving and tuning. Once you add all those cost together, it may become obvious that buying a used piano from a piano dealer is actually not a bad option. Most piano dealers will have the piano tuned in the store plus one free tuning at your home. The moving cost is already included in the piano price and most dealers offer some kind of warranty which you will never get from a private seller. Anyhow, good luck with your search.

Re: Acoustic vs Digital Piano [Re: SonatainfSharp] #2608425
01/25/17 04:01 PM
01/25/17 04:01 PM
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Georgia, USA
terminaldegree Offline
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Originally Posted by SonatainfSharp
You can get an amazing used upright for $800 if you put the work into your search. I once had a student get a perfect-condition, high quality (studio!) upright for FREE, simply because the person wanted it out of their house a.s.a.p. I had my student's parents meet a tech to make sure it was worth moving, and it was, and the dad had a few buddies come over and took the piano then and there.
(I have also had students spend over $1000 on junk, but they were "fallboard chasers" and wanted their piano to be a certain brand, no matter what, even though they are often stencils!)


I agree with a lot of what you say, but I can't agree with the first sentence. The vast, overwhelming majority of used pianos for sale for $800 or less are not amazing, nor were they ever amazing as new pianos. Okay, they may have been amazing pianos, but now they're a half century past their prime...

Someone with an $800 piano budget probably has only a $500 piano purchasing budget once you get through moving, tuning, and needed repairs. OP- Could you sell your current digital for $200ish and spend $1,000 on a new, better digital? What exact model of Clavinova do you have currently? If you can nudge your max budget to about $1,800, there are some pretty nice "step up" digitals on the market now, fwiw.


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Re: Acoustic vs Digital Piano [Re: molgra] #2608602
01/26/17 08:27 AM
01/26/17 08:27 AM
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molgra Offline OP
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Thanks for the advice. The model I have is CLP-320, it's about 6 years old now. I think I might try out a few digitals in local piano stores to see how different they are now to what I have, I guess a lot can change in 6 years. If I think that would suit better, I guess I'll just have to start saving! I think what I have will get me by for the moment, just don't want to be picking up bad habits and it's frustrating not being able to practice techniques you've been shown at home.

Re: Acoustic vs Digital Piano [Re: molgra] #2608613
01/26/17 09:04 AM
01/26/17 09:04 AM
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Originally Posted by molgra
The piano I have is an entry level Yamaha Clavinova. Up until recently, it has served me fine, but when taking my Grade V I noticed that there are techniques that I am shown on an acoustic upright in my lessons that cannot be replicated on my DP at home.

I'm curious to know what techniques you can't replicate on your digital which you can on the acoustic.


"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."
Re: Acoustic vs Digital Piano [Re: molgra] #2608621
01/26/17 09:15 AM
01/26/17 09:15 AM
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molgra Offline OP
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It's the different sound you can produce by the way you lift your finger off the keys. On my one at home, it makes no difference if I lift my finger slowly, fast, hard, soft, it is always the same sound produced. The only different sound that can be made from the keys is in volume and that only has 3 levels - soft/medium/loud. Just having a look on the internet about newer dps and they sound like they can offer more now, so might go a play a few (always the fun part).

Re: Acoustic vs Digital Piano [Re: bennevis] #2608637
01/26/17 09:38 AM
01/26/17 09:38 AM
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Minneapolis
SonatainfSharp Offline
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Originally Posted by bennevis

I'm curious to know what techniques you can't replicate on your digital which you can on the acoustic.

If it's an entry-level Clavinova, then probably key repetition, finite control of sound, increasing velocity to achieve volume but it isn't as much volume increase as it "feels" it should be, missing the natural overtones without being able to articulate that is what is missing...

I used to teach little kids classroom piano on entry-level Clavis. I felt like I couldn't play a thing. Not to mention the bottom of the key travel felt like a horrible "thud", like I was tapping my fingers on a table.


I do music stuffs
Yep, I have a YouTube channel!
Charles Walter 1500 in semi-polish ebony [2017]
Re: Acoustic vs Digital Piano [Re: molgra] #2608650
01/26/17 10:33 AM
01/26/17 10:33 AM
Joined: Dec 2016
Posts: 1,221
the Netherlands
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Try Kawai models with the Grand Feel II key action, or the new Casio GP400/500 - the latter's actions are rated at 20 repetitions per second, and are full length (concert grand) keys from Bechstein.

ah - scrolling up I notice the budgetary considerations.. my suggestion is way over that sorry ^^

Last edited by Goss; 01/26/17 10:39 AM.

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Re: Acoustic vs Digital Piano [Re: Goss] #2608775
01/26/17 05:42 PM
01/26/17 05:42 PM
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JohnSprung Offline
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Originally Posted by Goss
ah - scrolling up I notice the budgetary considerations.. my suggestion is way over that sorry ^^


Yes, the OP needs to get familiar with current market prices, and either increase the budget or reduce expectations.



-- J.S.

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Re: Acoustic vs Digital Piano [Re: Goss] #2608791
01/26/17 06:32 PM
01/26/17 06:32 PM
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New York City
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Originally Posted by Goss
Try Kawai models with the Grand Feel II key action, or the new Casio GP400/500 - the latter's actions are rated at 20 repetitions per second, and are full length (concert grand) keys from Bechstein.
I think the 20 reps/sec, even if true, is hogwash since no piece requires anywhere near that speed. Even Alborada del Gracioso del Gracioso or the famous Scarlatti D minor Sonata with all the repeated notes requires more like 6 notes/sec. No pianist is capable of playing anywhere near 20 notes/sec. I doubt if 10/sec is possible by any pianist.

Re: Acoustic vs Digital Piano [Re: molgra] #2608795
01/26/17 06:47 PM
01/26/17 06:47 PM
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Originally Posted by molgra
Thanks for the advice. The model I have is CLP-320, it's about 6 years old now.


That should see you through to a higher level; it`ll sound ok the action isn`t so bad; many acoustics will be worse. My piano teachers always seemed to have lousy pianos . . .


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

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Re: Acoustic vs Digital Piano [Re: pianoloverus] #2608806
01/26/17 07:09 PM
01/26/17 07:09 PM
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
I think the 20 reps/sec, even if true, is hogwash ....


Indeed. Most people can hear 20 Hz. If you add six keys to the bass end of the piano, you'd have an Eb as the lowest note. 20 Hz is about mid-way between that Eb and the E above it. Repeat the theoretical low Eb that fast, and you'd just be driving the string at 20 Hz. It would never complete a cycle..... ;-)





-- J.S.

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Knabe Grand # 10927
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Kawai FS690
Re: Acoustic vs Digital Piano [Re: molgra] #2608807
01/26/17 07:09 PM
01/26/17 07:09 PM
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Kentucky
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Technique issues aside, my son liked it when I played after tucking him in. His words were that it made him know everyone was home and things were ok. I guess that's an 8 year old's version of "all' right with the world."



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Re: Acoustic vs Digital Piano [Re: JohnSprung] #2608926
01/27/17 05:11 AM
01/27/17 05:11 AM
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molgra Offline OP
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I am aware of current market values which is why I was seeking advice. I know I can't afford to upgrade to a really good piano, I was looking to find out if I what I have would be better than a cheap acoustic.

Re: Acoustic vs Digital Piano [Re: molgra] #2608961
01/27/17 08:09 AM
01/27/17 08:09 AM
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the Netherlands
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I think stretching things just a smidge more can yield you a pretty good digital.
There is a thread in the digital piano section with lots of suggestions for sub 1000 digitals, and recently several models were released which could be of interest.. The usual advantages apply - most digitals now seek to emulate grand piano actions - ie faster than uprights, along with the sound reproduction of grand pianos - both could be seen as a step up from a cheap acoustic which requires quite a bit of careful moving due to its bulk, then tuning once it has settled at your home, and then an annual retuning at about 150 per, and that is supposing the rest of the internals are just fine to begin with and will stay that way for some time.



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Re: Acoustic vs Digital Piano [Re: molgra] #2608962
01/27/17 08:10 AM
01/27/17 08:10 AM
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Goss Offline
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Yes the 20 repetitions thing on the Casio gp bechstein action is something that could only be tested with a robotic finger loll


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Re: Acoustic vs Digital Piano [Re: molgra] #2608966
01/27/17 08:14 AM
01/27/17 08:14 AM
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the Netherlands
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New 1000 could buy you a Kawai ES110, the 3 pedalled console style stand, an adjustable bench and a pair of good headphones ( sennheiser 558 ^^) is one kit that comes to mind - there are equally interesting offerings from other brands like Roland, Yamaha and Casio.

And if/when the on board sound libraries start to grate or bore - there is Pianoteq etc =]


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Re: Acoustic vs Digital Piano [Re: molgra] #2608967
01/27/17 08:19 AM
01/27/17 08:19 AM
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Originally Posted by molgra
I am aware of current market values which is why I was seeking advice. I know I can't afford to upgrade to a really good piano, I was looking to find out if I what I have would be better than a cheap acoustic.


The response depends on where you live: in some parts of the US, $800 will not get you much in the way of a quality used acoustic--- and in others, it will go quite far. 'Cheap' does not necessarily equate to 'poor quality'... again, this statement is area-dependent.

It would be better of you would ask specific questions about particular pianos you have tried; generalities in a response don't get you very far, IMHO.

Re: Acoustic vs Digital Piano [Re: Goss] #2608972
01/27/17 08:30 AM
01/27/17 08:30 AM
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molgra Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Goss
New 1000 could buy you a Kawai ES110, the 3 pedalled console style stand, an adjustable bench and a pair of good headphones ( sennheiser 558 ^^) is one kit that comes to mind - there are equally interesting offerings from other brands like Roland, Yamaha and Casio.

And if/when the on board sound libraries start to grate or bore - there is Pianoteq etc =]



Thanks, I'll have a look at that and at the forum you mention.

Re: Acoustic vs Digital Piano [Re: molgra] #2608974
01/27/17 08:35 AM
01/27/17 08:35 AM
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A while ago we were looking at a Yamaha U1 and such and we looked up some rates for actually getting it from A to B - just to get it from a range of 100km max to our upstairs livingroom ( up one flight - 70's built home, with the garage on the groundfloor ) totalled 800 - excl. a first tuning sometime after it got settled -_- and 80% of that was moving it up those stairs lol


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Re: Acoustic vs Digital Piano [Re: molgra] #2608978
01/27/17 08:39 AM
01/27/17 08:39 AM
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Goss,

A typical tuning costs $150 in the Netherlands? That's definitely on the high side here, unless you live in a major city, live very far away from a technician (mileage charge added), or hired someone who's rather prominent in the field.


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Re: Acoustic vs Digital Piano [Re: terminaldegree] #2609256
01/28/17 03:44 AM
01/28/17 03:44 AM
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the Netherlands
Goss Offline
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Actually Terminal, the 150 USD was a number I've come across on these forums for US prices.. Here if you live within a stones throw of one offering such services I found deals on twice annual tunings for €150 - todays exchange rates has that at 160 USD. A single tuning though goes for around 90€.


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Re: Acoustic vs Digital Piano [Re: pianoloverus] #2609856
01/30/17 04:14 AM
01/30/17 04:14 AM
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pianoloverus came across this record setting - 765 notes a minute comes to a hair under 13 notes a second XD


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Re: Acoustic vs Digital Piano [Re: Goss] #2609899
01/30/17 09:36 AM
01/30/17 09:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Goss
A while ago we were looking at a Yamaha U1 and such and we looked up some rates for actually getting it from A to B - just to get it from a range of 100km max to our upstairs livingroom ( up one flight - 70's built home, with the garage on the groundfloor ) totalled 800 - excl. a first tuning sometime after it got settled -_- and 80% of that was moving it up those stairs lol


The one time I had to have an acoustic moved the mover wanted to know how many stairs and turns there were, and they wanted to know exactly how many steps on each set of stairs. The rate would be based on what I told them and higher if I told them wrong. I actually had to go out front and look while I was on the phone because I couldn't remember exactly what the layout into the building was. Fortunately I live on the first floor and the place it came from had an elevator.

Re: Acoustic vs Digital Piano [Re: molgra] #2609916
01/30/17 10:32 AM
01/30/17 10:32 AM
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Yes they got this special system they use - construct rails on stairs with a loading tray - apparently part of the high cost is insurance for when the thing fails so that is one bit to ease tensions eying 250-300kg moving up those stairs on rails ^^
They need to know exactly the height of the stairs so they are certain they got the right lengths of rails to construct that lift on the stairs.

Even without bothers like first floor movings - I've seen grand pianos scurried across cobble stone pavement on hard castor wheeled trolleys - just painful to watch..


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Curriculum of techniques for various levels?
by cathryn999. 11/17/18 10:25 PM
Ever heard of Yamaha SCLP-5450??
by Sean L. 11/17/18 09:39 PM
Disobedient pinkies & lazy thumbs
by Tyrone Slothrop. 11/17/18 08:06 PM
Modulation
by Alex873. 11/17/18 07:26 PM
Problem with sound on Yamaha DGX-630?
by Sophiex. 11/17/18 06:34 PM
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