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why choose acoustic upright over digital #2768711
10/01/18 05:36 AM
10/01/18 05:36 AM
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Belgium
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Timpskie Offline OP
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Hi,

i was wondring why people who buy an acoustic upright choose it over a good quality digital piano.
I guess everyones dream would be to own an acoustic grand piano right? I don't have the place at home nor the budget. Before the digital piano the alternative was an acoustic upright piano.
Of course a lot has changed. I'm playing for 4 year now and I play a digital piano. Although I realy love acoustic piano's and would like to own one, I just can't justify myself investing in an acoustic upright.
when I play an acoustic I can feel it come to live, I can feel the connection and the vibrations from the strings,... but still...
The reason why I bought digital is: they don't cost as much as an upright. A reasonable upright cost twice as much a realy good acoustic, they don't need tuning, I don't like the sound of an upright, I much prefer my digital, even though it comes from a speaker, I can connect to my computer and can choose much more than one piano sound, add VST's,...

I know lots of acoustic uprights are still sold today. Let say a good acoustic costs 5000 euro's at least, A good digital can be found for 2000 - 3000 euro's...
I just don't see the advantage of an acoustic upright as an alternative to the grand piano in this day and age when technology has come this far. Thats why I'm surprised so many uprights are still sold today.

I would like te hear your opinions.

Tim

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Re: why choose acoustic upright over digital [Re: Timpskie] #2768717
10/01/18 06:19 AM
10/01/18 06:19 AM
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Posts: 3,223
UK
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spanishbuddha Offline
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Without getting into the digital v acoustic debate, an acoustic is a different instrument than a digital, even a hybrid digital. Some people who want an acoustic may not have the space for a grand, even baby grand, and a quality upright, such as Kawai K500, will easily satisfy most.

Re: why choose acoustic upright over digital [Re: Timpskie] #2768722
10/01/18 06:30 AM
10/01/18 06:30 AM
Joined: May 2015
Posts: 3,753
Florida
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I do not agree that you cannot have an upright acoustic with good tone; in fact, there are many out there. I own two acoustics: an upright and a grand. Both have great tone. You’ve already given the reasons why I personally prefer an acoustic: feeling it come to life, feeling the vibrations, and everything feeling and sounding organic. There are many reasons for owning an upright over a grand: cost, space and portability are three


This is not to say that those that prefer digitals are wrong. It is a personal choice.

Last edited by dogperson; 10/01/18 06:36 AM.
Re: why choose acoustic upright over digital [Re: Timpskie] #2768727
10/01/18 06:43 AM
10/01/18 06:43 AM
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For me it’s 2x acoustic uprights AND 2x digital pianos AND several VST pianos on my laptop.


We are the music makers,
And we are the dreamers of dreams.
Re: why choose acoustic upright over digital [Re: Timpskie] #2768740
10/01/18 07:36 AM
10/01/18 07:36 AM
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Chiltern Hills, England.
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For me it really just comes down to the satisfaction of playing and the responsiveness of the instrument. I have both digital and upright acoustic - but the digital hardly ever gets used.

Re: why choose acoustic upright over digital [Re: Timpskie] #2768743
10/01/18 07:53 AM
10/01/18 07:53 AM
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Montreal, Canada
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guyl Offline
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For sure nothing really replaces the "live" sound and complex harmonies of an acoustic piano, especially a grand. Still I also have a digital that's very useful for portability, as well as for any recording purposes, since it's difficult to record an acoustic without proper sound treatment of the room and good microphones. Recording an acoustic is an art in itself.

For me it's not a question of acoustic vs digital, but rather which one for which circumstance.


What do snowflakes and Chickerings have in common? There are no two exactly alike!
Re: why choose acoustic upright over digital [Re: Timpskie] #2768746
10/01/18 08:10 AM
10/01/18 08:10 AM
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Posts: 51
Romania
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While I like the action of my Kawai MP11 SE three billion times more than my teacher's upright action, and even the piano sound, there are some key differences to a real acoustic.

- The vibrations and the feeling when you play, very satisfying
- It really matters how you press those key
- The damper pedal is much more potent and unforgiven

Re: why choose acoustic upright over digital [Re: Timpskie] #2768749
10/01/18 08:18 AM
10/01/18 08:18 AM
Joined: Jan 2010
Posts: 928
Queensland, Australia
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I occasionally have to play a digital. Some are reasonable and play through $20,000 sound systems, and sound sort-of like a piano. But they're just not the same. The sound doesn't radiate from a timber soundboard which is right in front of you, but instead, in some Churches, from behind or above you. That's OK when playing a Pipe Organ where you expect the sound to come from elsewhere, but not a piano.

Sometimes it's fun to fiddle with the gadgetry, but that gets boring after a little while, but I find I'm always playing with the settings to try to make them sound more like my piano.

To answer the real question being asked - a $3000 digital vs $5000 acoustic upright? And I suspect you're thinking of a restricted budget. The $5000 acoustic upright will be either an older model or a very bottom-end new piano, and may not be all that great. BUT - to get a decent sound with the $3000 digital, you'll need at least a couple of 1000s in speakers and amplification to make it sound half decent. And, in my opinion, spending money on the sound system would be better than spending extra on a more upmarket digital.

But, if you shop around, for $5000, you can find a reasonably good used upright.

When I was first married, I had a very ordinary old upright - it did the job, just. Then 7 yrs later, we bought a new, intermediate quality upright. Then, nearly 30 years later, I was able to buy a top tier piano which is a dream to play.

The only reason I'd get a digital now is if I wanted MIDI functionality to link to my computer instead of my ancient Synthesiser - and if so, I'd probably get a junky old digital, as long as it worked.

I have a few friends who have a digital and an acoustic - the acoustic gets used far more than the digital.

Maybe you could ask on the Digital Forum - I'm sure you'll get quite different answers.


Alan from Queensland, Australia (and Clara - my Grotrian Concert & Allen Organ (CF-17a)).
Re: why choose acoustic upright over digital [Re: Timpskie] #2768761
10/01/18 08:58 AM
10/01/18 08:58 AM
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Toronto, Canada
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Living in a building I can't afford to have an acoustic because of neighbors on all sides. Prefer any model that can be plugged into headphones. If I need to practice on an acoustic, there is a community center in my area with access to an upright. Being a member of a music group my portable 88 keyboard can be on the go at any time when playing in venues without a piano / keyboard.

Most people would say the sound quality is the main difference. The sound from a digital is generated by prerecorded samples coming off the speakers which is a directional sound. The vibration of the acoustic strings fills the room in a different way. Found a Yamaha digital piano in a public library where the public can borrow for an hour at a time. The dp is all black except for the pedals and looks like a Yamaha acoustic except the case in the back is not as high because it has no strings. And the on/off & volume switch is hidden underneath so you'd think it is an upright at first. The touch of the keys is very close to a Yamaha upright but you can tell it's not 100% and the sound is definitely not the same.

When it comes to price, not everybody can spend the money upfront. Know somebody who got a second-hand Baldwin upright from his church for free. They're giving it away anyway. The main cost is getting a mover to bring the piano to his home and getting it in tune. Otherwise it is still in very good condition and sounds great.

Re: why choose acoustic upright over digital [Re: Timpskie] #2768775
10/01/18 10:33 AM
10/01/18 10:33 AM
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I have both an acoustic concert grand and a slab digital. The digital gets most of the use, because I can play it with headphones (it doesn't have speakers). I can play at any hour, I can drill irritating little phrases hundreds of times over, and never bother anybody. The digital is for practice, the acoustic for rehearsal and performance. The digital also fits in an ordinary car, and can go to gigs where the house piano isn't as good as the digital.


-- J.S.

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Re: why choose acoustic upright over digital [Re: gwing] #2768796
10/01/18 11:46 AM
10/01/18 11:46 AM
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The Heart of Screenland
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Originally Posted by gwing
For me it really just comes down to the satisfaction of playing and the responsiveness of the instrument. I have both digital and upright acoustic - but the digital hardly ever gets used.


Same here. I had a digital. A pretty good one. Close to 2k new. My okay, less than 5k upright supplanted it. For me it's about response and the tactile feel of playing the whole box. If good sound for you means big grand bass, one might be more pleased with a good digital. I never imagined that I would be supplanting the digital. My digital was never "until I get an acoustic" but once the acoustic was in the house, I stopped wanting to play the digital and since I don't need or particularly want the other things a digital does that an acoustic can't, volume control, other sounds, easier recording, I finally wound up selling the digital.


**********************************************************************************************************
Co-owner (by marriage) and part time customer service rep at an electronic musical equipment repair shop.
Re: why choose acoustic upright over digital [Re: spanishbuddha] #2768804
10/01/18 12:11 PM
10/01/18 12:11 PM
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America
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Jitin Online content
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Originally Posted by spanishbuddha
Without getting into the digital v acoustic debate, an acoustic is a different instrument than a digital, even a hybrid digital. Some people who want an acoustic may not have the space for a grand, even baby grand, and a quality upright, such as Kawai K500, will easily satisfy most.


In order to get a good upright, is 5000 US dollars sufficient? Say something like a kawai k500 or yamaha u3 used?
IF so, how do you determine if used instrument will hold its tune and will last long, as it used?

Last edited by Jitin; 10/01/18 12:14 PM.

P155
Re: why choose acoustic upright over digital [Re: Timpskie] #2768814
10/01/18 12:38 PM
10/01/18 12:38 PM
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I tune Yamahas and Kawais from the 1960s which hold their tunings for a long time. That is the case with all of the quality instruments that I tune, and even most of the older and lower quality pianos.


Semipro Tech
Re: why choose acoustic upright over digital [Re: Timpskie] #2768822
10/01/18 01:18 PM
10/01/18 01:18 PM
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I asked this question before and got a video response on it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T6FaOOL_voI

Re: why choose acoustic upright over digital [Re: Timpskie] #2768850
10/01/18 03:33 PM
10/01/18 03:33 PM
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Middle Atlantic
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I started with a very inexpensive keyboard and after 1 year I purchased a full size acoustic upright.
I spent 3500 Euros with everything I wanted included; I think that you could do the same.
I love my upright piano and there isn't a digital in the world that could replace it.


Proud owner of a Kawai KU-5D 52 inch professional upright.
Re: why choose acoustic upright over digital [Re: LKI] #2768851
10/01/18 03:35 PM
10/01/18 03:35 PM
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UK
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Originally Posted by LKI
I asked this question before and got a video response on it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T6FaOOL_voI

It seems to me, that this, and most people on the post, are answering a different question than the one posed by the OP.

Re: why choose acoustic upright over digital [Re: Timpskie] #2768854
10/01/18 03:44 PM
10/01/18 03:44 PM
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Victoria, BC
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Originally Posted by Timpskie
[...]
I just don't see the advantage of an acoustic upright as an alternative to the grand piano in this day and age when technology has come this far. Thats why I'm surprised so many uprights are still sold today.

I would like te hear your opinions.

Tim


If it's a question of upright vs. grand, then there is no question; a good grand is, in many ways, superior to a good upright. However, cost is a decisive factor.

That said, some of the preference for an upright over a digital may really depend upon the music that one plays. If the pianist is one who plays music that requires extremely fine gradations of touch, volume and, particularly, fine subtleties in the use of the damper pedal (half pedaling, quarter pedaling, flutter pedaling), it's hard to come up with a digital that has that degree of refinement, leaving the pianist with less control than s/he would prefer.

Regards,


BruceD
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Estonia 190
Re: why choose acoustic upright over digital [Re: Timpskie] #2768858
10/01/18 04:01 PM
10/01/18 04:01 PM
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North Vancouver
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Lady Bird Offline
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If you play a Chopin Nocturne, so much of the broken chord accompaniment is lost for example .The overtones are thin,the pedal has to be overused in a digital .I have an LX 17roland ,which is considered very good .Much prefer an accoustic upright .Some can rival what you get from 5ft grand .Perhaps I am in the age group that experiences a digital defferently to someone younger .I have both and play both ,but more the accoustic .Whatever you prefer ,enjoy playing !

Re: why choose acoustic upright over digital [Re: spanishbuddha] #2768920
10/01/18 08:11 PM
10/01/18 08:11 PM
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Queensland, Australia
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Originally Posted by spanishbuddha
Originally Posted by LKI
I asked this question before and got a video response on it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T6FaOOL_voI

It seems to me, that this, and most people on the post, are answering a different question than the one posed by the OP.

The OP asked "... why people who buy an acoustic upright chose it ... over a ... digital ...".

He/she then went on to basically answer the question themselves - from their viewpoint "... I guess everyone's dream would be to own an acoustic grand piano right?". Followed by lots of comments both pro-acoustic and pro-digital. More or less summed it up well.

At least in my response, I tried to answer the "why did I prefer an acoustic" - as did almost all others who responded. He/she was basically asking for an opinion as a response, and most did.

I did note at the end of my response that the OP could "... ask on the Digital Forum - I'm sure you'll get quite different answers."


Alan from Queensland, Australia (and Clara - my Grotrian Concert & Allen Organ (CF-17a)).
Re: why choose acoustic upright over digital [Re: Timpskie] #2768924
10/01/18 08:29 PM
10/01/18 08:29 PM
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I am not sure what the OP is trying to achieve here. I am sure that if he is trying to convince me/us that a digital sounds better then an upright he won't find a lot of agreement on this forum.

Unless of course the reason is why so many of us have a DP. You can practice with headphones, they never need tuning, easier to move and there are many more reasons to own one.

Arguing they do sound better then an acoustic upright is not one of them.

Just my $0.02

Last edited by Learux; 10/01/18 08:34 PM.


Casio GP-400
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Re: why choose acoustic upright over digital [Re: Timpskie] #2768953
10/02/18 12:20 AM
10/02/18 12:20 AM
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Lady Bird Offline
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It's what your perception of what you like as sound . Ones perception is based on many things ,memory for example ,what is stored in our mind .For me the sound of an accoustic piano in a home gives me a memory which is to me is spritual .,a memory of playing to my parents at home .This was a time when the piano was an important part of many homes .Few homes from where I came from had grand pianos but often an upright. For people who are younger this may be different .The price of a reasonable upright is we know so much higher than a digital and you can even buy new .!!! Also many live in apartments so would need silent accoustic pianos .So they decide to buy a digital and save for that grand.,of course I believe they would play that grand better if they practiced on an accoustic upright piano. BUT I am not going into that now !

Re: why choose acoustic upright over digital [Re: Timpskie] #2768978
10/02/18 03:47 AM
10/02/18 03:47 AM
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Posts: 11,133
Philadelphia/South Jersey
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The acoustic piano will never go away. But the technology available in today's top end digital and hybrid pianos is absolutely breath taking.

As an anecdote, we were working on a Bechstein grand for the head of the piano program at Lincoln University. He needed to rent a piano so he could keep practicing. He was surprised by his experience. Well, for the rest of the story, watch this video: https://youtu.be/b3HZT4QAFDc


Rich Galassini
Cunningham Piano Co.
Phila, Pa.
(215) 991-0834 direct line
rich@cunninghampiano.com
Subscribe to our YouTube channel for great content every week:
https://www.youtube.com/user/CunninghamPiano
Re: why choose acoustic upright over digital [Re: Timpskie] #2768980
10/02/18 04:25 AM
10/02/18 04:25 AM
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Lady Bird Offline
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Loved that youtube video ,just shows how new experiences change the way we think ! It does not try to answer the op ,s question because there is no real answer .

Re: why choose acoustic upright over digital [Re: BDB] #2768997
10/02/18 06:38 AM
10/02/18 06:38 AM
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Originally Posted by BDB
I tune Yamahas and Kawais from the 1960s which hold their tunings for a long time. That is the case with all of the quality instruments that I tune, and even most of the older and lower quality pianos.


Two things contribute to the tuning stability BDB enjoys. 1. His climate is very stable - humidity swings are limited. 2. BDB is an experienced technician who has learned how to produce long lasting, stable tunings. I have the same stability 9 months out of the year in Florida if the client uses A/C all the time. In northern climates (Georgia and north), that's not the case because humidity swings more winter to summer.

Some of my clients would be better off with a digital, rather than their rusty, broken down acoustic spinet, but they want an acoustic piano. As long as that attitude exists, acoustic uprights will remain. I predict over the next few decades, all those spinets will be tossed out, and taller uprights will be the norm for acoustic pianos, while shorter upright needs will be digital, and everyone will lust for that acoustic grand.

I was between acoustic pianos for 18 months, playing a digital. Then I bought a used Steinway L and I've not played the digital since.




Re: why choose acoustic upright over digital [Re: Timpskie] #2768998
10/02/18 06:47 AM
10/02/18 06:47 AM
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Istanbul
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I think the OP asked the question because it is fun to talk about! He obviously knows the pros and cons. I have played a 1915 renovated Steinway B for thirty years and it is marvelous. No digital can compare... Yet. But, as Rich's video demonstrates, a closed mind can miss something valuable, and there is much to be open to in the evolving digital landscape.

Six months ago I discovered iOS music making on the iPad. In the past three months I created two thirty minute long, four movement "Synthonies" and a dozen jazz pieces. All that music is piano centric and I used an average, noisy, Casio keyboard as a controller. Did I miss my Steinway? Frankly, no. I was so caught up in the amazing opportunity to create ersatz symphonic music and quite credible piano bass jazz pieces that the keyboard limitation disappeared in the white light of intense creativity.

It is true I have composed extensively on an acoustic instrument, but never so productively and completely realized as using the amazing tools available for the iPad. And, it is incredibly affordable. Imagine a full featured recording studio, full panoply of internal effects, unlimited tracks, track freeze and undo function that eliminates loss of hours of work from a careless misstep.... For fifty bucks! And this amazing app is based on the very popular Cubase desktop software from Steinberg.

Basically, for $500 One can set up a studio that would have been unobtainable in 2000 for twenty times that amount, with an array of instruments, quality effects, recording studio and sheer workflow delight based on poking an iPad, which is way more fun than clicking a mouse. And that includes purchase of a used iPad and basic keyboard.

Of course the platform still has a way to go, but those who dismiss iOS digital for acoustic may be missing the most exciting and democratic thing to come along since the model T put myriads of ordinary people into a machine all the kings and potentates of six thousand years of civilization could not acquire until 1900. Now the ordinary
( and usually financially pressed) musician can afford his or her own orchestra, jazz ensemble, choir, cathedral organ or rock band, available any time night or day and can take it along on their daily commute! And it is relatively easy to learn the ropes. Can anyone disagree how fantastic the opportunity is? And it will only improve exponentially.

Of course not everyone will want to do this, but even those who want to concentrate on the piano can lean tremendously about music from the most basic incursions in this area. And it is great fun! By the way, an iPhone will do almost as well as an iPad. I am not proselytizing here, but I do think it important that all musicians are at least aware of the possibilities that did not exist three years ago excepting an expensive desk or laptop format with a steep learning curve. Thanks for listening!


Jazz at www.newartistsrecords.com. Search Michael Levy. Use Safari for free tracks.
https://soundcloud.com/michael-levy-387395070
1915 Steinway B
Re: why choose acoustic upright over digital [Re: Timpskie] #2769022
10/02/18 09:21 AM
10/02/18 09:21 AM
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I 'm not sure if the op means upright or vertical piano. I had a old kimball console some years ago that was awful. Was very hard to play hard to keep in tune. I stopped playing it, got rid of it. and bought a digital. The digital was so much better. Then 4 years ago I bought a 1974 yamaha u7. I love my u7. Also I have a mute rail in piano so I can play at night without disturbing neighbors. I think a digital is much better then having a upright that is in bad condition but if you have a good quality upright I prefer it over a digital. I love the feel and sound of a upright. I would like a grand but that may be in the future.

Re: why choose acoustic upright over digital [Re: Bob] #2769071
10/02/18 12:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Bob
Originally Posted by BDB
I tune Yamahas and Kawais from the 1960s which hold their tunings for a long time. That is the case with all of the quality instruments that I tune, and even most of the older and lower quality pianos.


Two things contribute to the tuning stability BDB enjoys. 1. His climate is very stable - humidity swings are limited. 2. BDB is an experienced technician who has learned how to produce long lasting, stable tunings. I have the same stability 9 months out of the year in Florida if the client uses A/C all the time. In northern climates (Georgia and north), that's not the case because humidity swings more winter to summer.

Some of my clients would be better off with a digital, rather than their rusty, broken down acoustic spinet, but they want an acoustic piano. As long as that attitude exists, acoustic uprights will remain. I predict over the next few decades, all those spinets will be tossed out, and taller uprights will be the norm for acoustic pianos, while shorter upright needs will be digital, and everyone will lust for that acoustic grand.

I was between acoustic pianos for 18 months, playing a digital. Then I bought a used Steinway L and I've not played the digital since.


The important part about tuning stability is that it is rarely the pin block that is problematic; it is the effect of environmental conditions.

In the debate about digital versus acoustic, it is also important to remember that not all digital instruments are tuned well, and that they are not maintenance free, except in those cases where they are replaced instead of repaired. The cost of maintenance differ, and it is hard to say which is cheaper: an acoustic piano that needs a little maintenance often, and major maintenance almost never, or a digital that needs major maintenance or replacement more often and very little minor maintenance.


Semipro Tech
Re: why choose acoustic upright over digital [Re: Timpskie] #2769086
10/02/18 01:02 PM
10/02/18 01:02 PM
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Posts: 69
Tennessee
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Chili_Time Offline
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Tennessee
I only have a digital but would like to add an upright. I'd learn pieces on the digital with headphones so as not to torture my family when playing the same 2 bars over and over and over. When decent on a new piece I'd play it on the upright. Maybe after I finish the second Faber book I'll reward good ole me with a good used upright.

I have to say it is a lot of fun to switch the digital to harpsichord strings, organ or electric piano and play a song to get a different sound. That is one big digital benefit.

Last edited by Chili_Time; 10/02/18 01:04 PM.

Started Playing October 1, 2017. First Lesson Oct. 17, 2017. Currently in Faber Accelerated Piano Adventures Book 2 For The Older Beginner. Yamaha P-115.
Re: why choose acoustic upright over digital [Re: IosPlayer] #2769126
10/02/18 04:59 PM
10/02/18 04:59 PM
Joined: Aug 2011
Posts: 5,582
Reseda, California
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JohnSprung Offline
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Reseda, California
Originally Posted by IosPlayer
Six months ago I discovered iOS music making on the iPad. In the past three months I created two thirty minute long, four movement "Synthonies" and a dozen jazz pieces. All that music is piano centric and I used an average, noisy, Casio keyboard as a controller. .... I am not proselytizing here, but I do think it important that all musicians are at least aware of the possibilities that did not exist three years ago excepting an expensive desk or laptop format with a steep learning curve. Thanks for listening!


How does this compare with MuseScore (free notation editor) and sound fonts on an ordinary PC? Last time I looked (3-5 years ago?) some of the MuseScore guys had transcribed entire Beethoven symphonies and had them playing back rather well. MuseScore allows you to assign playback velocities and timing tweaks to notes and perhaps a few other tricks, to overcome the limited information content of traditional notation.


-- J.S.

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Yamaha CP33
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Re: why choose acoustic upright over digital [Re: Timpskie] #2769229
10/03/18 05:49 AM
10/03/18 05:49 AM
Joined: Mar 2013
Posts: 873
Germany
patH Offline
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patH  Offline
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Joined: Mar 2013
Posts: 873
Germany
My two cents.

One problem with digital pianos is that if you put the volume too low, you tend to compensate by using more force to play the piano.
Another problem: The touch and feel of the keyboard. The best action available is from a grand piano. They are usually better than upright pianos; and these are usually better than non-hybrid digitals. Which is why I am not at all impressed with the prospect of using software for an iOS if I have to play a "basic keyboard".
And finally: An acoustic upright is not only a music instrument, but also a piece of furniture that (to me at least) looks and smells better than a digital piano.

These are already three reasons to pick an acoustic upright over a digital.
The great thing is that today you don't have to choose between one or the other; you can get what you want from both worlds in one instrument, by picking an acoustic piano with silent system; or a digital piano with real grand action.

Last edited by patH; 10/03/18 05:50 AM.

Everything is possible, and nothing is sure.
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