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Do you think DPs help or hurt Acoustic sales? #2859786
06/17/19 11:59 PM
06/17/19 11:59 PM
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Groove On Offline OP
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Do digital pianos have a symbiotic relationship with acoustics? Or do they take sales away from Acoustic pianos?


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Re: Do you think DPs help or hurt Acoustic sales? [Re: Groove On] #2859807
06/18/19 01:37 AM
06/18/19 01:37 AM
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Moscow, Russia
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I think the latter.

Re: Do you think DPs help or hurt Acoustic sales? [Re: Groove On] #2859857
06/18/19 05:21 AM
06/18/19 05:21 AM
Joined: Jan 2010
Posts: 1,263
Queensland, Australia
backto_study_piano Online content
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It's a very complex question - with lots of different aspects.

Like Pipe Organs vs Digital Organs.

My organ at home (and the same one at Church) - current new price is about $50,000, and, if in a small-medium Church would have between $5 and $10,000 of speakers. And - would, to 99.9% of people, sound as good as an equivalent sized 42 rank pipe organ. But it's also got 7 different organs to select from - so more versatile. Yes, the few purists know!!

The digital in the Church has the speakers on top of the old very small, non-working Pipe Organ, with subwoofer at ground level to the side. The old pipes actually resonate a little while playing the 16 and 32' stops. I've had many people comment about the amazing sound from the Pipe Organ - and are amazed when I point out the speakers and the decrepit console for the old organ.

But to get a pipe organ of similar specification as one of the organs in the digital would be much more than a million dollars!!!! Which they wouldn't spend.

With pianos - yes, some people select a digital, and they're good for beginners and other purposes. But on PianoWorld, we regularly hear the question by digital owners - about upgrading to an Acoustic after having had a digital for a number of years. So some of those cases, the Digital was a pathway to an Acoustic - the same as an upright in some cases is a pathway to a grand - or a baby grand is a pathway to a B Steinway.

The reality for some, a couple will buy a Digital to see if their child is interested in learning. Some do continue on, most don't as the dropout rate is quite high. And Mum and Dad have a $3000 instrument sitting untouched - rather than a 10,000 or $20,000 - or $80k instrument.

But - they've learned the basics, had some musical education - and, I'm amazed at the number of 50, 60 and 70yr olds who come to me - "I learned as a child, haven't touched it for 30, 40 or 50 years - I've now got a piano - where do I start". And that initial education, a lot of the information is still there - they still know the finger numbering, some basic theory, can often read some of the score and progress fairly well - and often have time and inclination.

With pianos - a limitation with Digitals is the speakers. I did play a Roland which went through an excellent Church sound system and someone had actually voiced one channel to make it sound reasonable - even with the volume set reasonably soft. But that sound system was $20,000+ value - which most people wouldn't spend at home.

Some people, with little room, or no long-term accommodation, or fussy neighbours have no option to a digital - and get on fine with it.


Alan from Queensland, Australia (and Clara - my Grotrian Concert & Allen Organ (CF-17a)).
Re: Do you think DPs help or hurt Acoustic sales? [Re: Groove On] #2859869
06/18/19 06:04 AM
06/18/19 06:04 AM
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Philadelphia/South Jersey
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backto_study_piano,

That is a great analogy.

I will add that some posters here regularly criticize spinet and cheap console pianos. I totally get where they are coming from. Spinets were built to fit into space, to be reasonably priced, and performance was usually an after thought, with a few exceptions. Even on the exceptions, physics worked against the most valiant efforts. Bottom line - they are not great pianos. BUT if it were not for small cheap pianos, I can tell you that many fine pianists today would never have had the opportunity to play at all.

The better digital pianos today, like the upper end Clavinovas, perform so much better than any of those cheap little verticals ever did. They feel better than spinets, they sound better than spinets, and they are easier to move with some really cool options.

The service side of my business (we have a staff of tuner/technicians) would love for the days of the spinet and cheap console to come back. but I really think the digital piano spurs on BETTER acoustic piano sales if the person that sold the Clavinova takes the trouble to put a follow up into place (e-news letter, mailings, and events) designed to educate on this very subject. I have found that teachers are an ally in this regard if you give them a chance to be educated as well.

Thank you for this thread. I look forward to hearing other perspectives.


Rich Galassini
Cunningham Piano Co.
Phila, Pa.
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Re: Do you think DPs help or hurt Acoustic sales? [Re: Groove On] #2860293
06/19/19 03:17 AM
06/19/19 03:17 AM
Joined: Jun 2015
Posts: 780
Melville Saskatchewan
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If there were no digital pianos, I wouldn't have a piano at all.

When I started this adventure a few years ago I didn't know if I would really like it or not. I just suddenly got a bee in my bonnet that it might be interesting to learn to play a piano. So I bought a Casio CDP-230 at Costco thinking that if I found that I didn't like it I wouldn't be out much. I bought it, put the box in the back of my car and brought it here and spent a half-hour or so assembling the stand. I remember telling my wife, "This is rather exciting" while I was in the process of screwing it together. smile

If my only option was to get a multi-hundred pound acoustic piano at that point (with all of the hassles of moving it, finding a place for it, etc), I simply wouldn't have bothered.

A few months later the Casio AP-650 went on sale on the Costco website. By that time I had decided that I wanted to keep doing this so I ordered one of those and sold my CDP-230. I figure my current piano will last me 20 years or so unless it breaks or unless something really spectacular comes along in the meantime. And I really have no interest in getting an acoustic piano. My digital requires no maintenance, it's always in tune, and it's light enough that I can move it with one other person to help me. (It weighs 110 pounds, but I'm a wimp so while I can carry one end I need someone to carry the other.)

Having said that, I just play to entertain myself and my bird; I'll never be doing concerts and I have no real interest in playing for other people either. So maybe I'm just not serious enough about it to need anything greater than a digital piano.


If you're a zombie and you know it, bite your friend!
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Re: Do you think DPs help or hurt Acoustic sales? [Re: Groove On] #2860303
06/19/19 04:36 AM
06/19/19 04:36 AM
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Germany
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My two xents.

As another poster said, I believe that digitals definitely took away sales from cheap spinets and consoles. And rightfully so. They (the digitals) are cheaper, have a better action, more sounds, sometimes even a better piano sound, and don't require tuning. The only disadvantage is that they don't play during a power outage; but this did not save the grammophone from becoming obsolete either.

Digitals however will not replace high end acoustics. A big upright usually sounds better than a digital, and usually has better action. And no digital can replace the action, sound, look and smell of a grand piano.

The solution I chose for myself: The best of both worlds. An acoustic grand piano with a digital silent system. Aka a hybrid acoustic grand.
The silent system is as expensive than a high end digital; but I can play a digital with a grand piano action.

On this board, lots of people seem to think that a silent system affects the action of an acoustic piano. I can't confirm this. In fact I am surprised that not more hybrid pianos are being sold. But who am I to tell others what to do with their money... wink


My grand piano is a Yamaha C2 SG.
Re: Do you think DPs help or hurt Acoustic sales? [Re: patH] #2860361
06/19/19 09:25 AM
06/19/19 09:25 AM
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Southwest
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Originally Posted by patH
My two xents.


The solution I chose for myself: The best of both worlds. An acoustic grand piano with a digital silent system. Aka a hybrid acoustic grand.
The silent system is as expensive than a high end digital; but I can play a digital with a grand piano action

Just for clarification, a hybrid piano is a Kawai NV10 or a Yamaha Avant Grand. Yamaha calls their Diskclavier a Player System. So PatH- you really do have the best of both worlds, a Player System, and its much better IMHO than a hybrid.


J & J
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Re: Do you think DPs help or hurt Acoustic sales? [Re: Groove On] #2860378
06/19/19 10:26 AM
06/19/19 10:26 AM
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Zichron Yaacov, Israel
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I don't think they affect piano sales.

Anyone around in the business before 1985 know they stole business from the electric organ business.

Almost 100% of piano stores were known as Piano and Organ stores then.

Today, in most places, the home organ is gone, replaced by the digital.

If you look at the numbers in 1975 or so, you will see just how large the organ business was.

Started in 1936 by Laurens Hammond, took over the music world and gone 60 years later.

Check it out

Re: Do you think DPs help or hurt Acoustic sales? [Re: Groove On] #2860381
06/19/19 10:28 AM
06/19/19 10:28 AM
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New York City
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I believe digitals outsell acoustics and they cut into acoustic sales in a huge way.

Re: Do you think DPs help or hurt Acoustic sales? [Re: Groove On] #2860390
06/19/19 10:57 AM
06/19/19 10:57 AM
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not in Japan anymore
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I tend to agree with pianoloverus. A lot of people who own digitals would probably own a decent quality upright if the digitals were not available, or were not as good at replicating the piano’s touch and sound.

At the same time, I do think that the accessibility of digital pianos acts as an entry into piano as a hobby or musical pursuit (for adults and children) and there are surely a lot of people who own acoustic pianos who would not own them or even be playing if it were not for the ease of getting a digital. That certainly describes me. I was able to start piano because a friend lent me her digital piano. That couldn’t have happened on either of our ends if the instrument in question were an acoustic upright. I lived in a second floor apartment, she brought the digital piano over in her car and we carried it up to my apartment together. 20 years later, I have owned three different digitals over the years and I am on my third upright, and searching for a grand (yay!)

So, although I suspect that acoustic piano sales specifically have been hurt by digitals, over all in terms of “the world of piano” I think digitals have a net positive impact.


Started piano June 1999. My recordings at Box.Net:
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Re: Do you think DPs help or hurt Acoustic sales? [Re: j&j] #2860393
06/19/19 11:02 AM
06/19/19 11:02 AM
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Posts: 964
Germany
patH Offline

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Originally Posted by j&j
Originally Posted by patH
My two cents.


The solution I chose for myself: The best of both worlds. An acoustic grand piano with a digital silent system. Aka a hybrid acoustic grand.
The silent system is as expensive than a high end digital; but I can play a digital with a grand piano action

Just for clarification, a hybrid piano is a Kawai NV10 or a Yamaha Avant Grand. Yamaha calls their Diskclavier a Player System. So PatH- you really do have the best of both worlds, a Player System, and its much better IMHO than a hybrid.

Apparently I need to clarify more. wink

When I say "hybrid" I mean it has elements from acoustic and digital. Whether it's mostly acoustic or digital would depend on the sound generation.
A "Hybrid acoustic" in that sense would be an acoustic piano with incorporated digital technology, like a silent system or a player system. My Yamaha C2 SG has a silent system, not a player system. It's not a Disklavier.

A "hybrid digital" would be a digital piano with an acoustic action, like the Kawai NV10 or Yamaha AvantGrand. The sound is created digitally.

This is of course very arbitrary. I am not quite sure where the Yamaha TransAcoustic or the Blüthner e-volution would fit in. Probably hybrid acoustic.

The question relevant to sales of instruments might be: Is it better to have two instruments (one digital, one purely acoustic), or one hybrid instrument? I guess it depends mostly on available space, and on personal preference. But the fact that all these options exist on the market shows that there are supporters for both options.

Last edited by patH; 06/19/19 11:03 AM.

My grand piano is a Yamaha C2 SG.
Re: Do you think DPs help or hurt Acoustic sales? [Re: patH] #2860408
06/19/19 11:36 AM
06/19/19 11:36 AM
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New York City
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Originally Posted by patH
Originally Posted by j&j
Just for clarification, a hybrid piano is a Kawai NV10 or a Yamaha Avant Grand. Yamaha calls their Diskclavier a Player System. So PatH- you really do have the best of both worlds, a Player System, and its much better IMHO than a hybrid.
Apparently I need to clarify more. wink

When I say "hybrid" I mean it has elements from acoustic and digital. Whether it's mostly acoustic or digital would depend on the sound generation.
A "Hybrid acoustic" in that sense would be an acoustic piano with incorporated digital technology, like a silent system or a player system. My Yamaha C2 SG has a silent system, not a player system. It's not a Disklavier.

A "hybrid digital" would be a digital piano with an acoustic action, like the Kawai NV10 or Yamaha AvantGrand. The sound is created digitally.
I believe j&j's definition of hybrid is the way that term is currently used in the piano market, i.e. a digital piano with and acoustic action.

Re: Do you think DPs help or hurt Acoustic sales? [Re: Groove On] #2860409
06/19/19 11:36 AM
06/19/19 11:36 AM
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Southwest
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PatH - got it. thumb digital vs acoustic vs hybrid digital vs hybrid acoustic vs one of each depends on budget, room, is silent practice required and what sound and action you’re looking for. I have a home on an acre so I use my C3 most of the time. I use my digital for silent practice and recording. My digital is only 26 lbs so if I played in a band I could load and unload my equipment myself. The band dream never pans out but I’m ready when and if it ever does.
I think the whole piano market including digital keeps shrinking, but digital sales do cut deeply into acoustic sales.


J & J
Yamaha C3 PE
Casio Privia PX-330
Pianos - the reason God made trees!
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Re: Do you think DPs help or hurt Acoustic sales? [Re: Groove On] #2860428
06/19/19 12:09 PM
06/19/19 12:09 PM
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Maryland/DC/No. VA
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Many consider a digital piano with a functioning soundboard to be a Hybrid piano.


Piano Industry Consultant- http://www.linkedin.com/pub/steve-cohen/6/b92/b80

Consultant & Contributing Editor - Acoustic & Digital Piano Buyer

Jasons Music
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Since 1937.

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My postings, unless stated otherwise, are my personal opinions, not those of my clients.
Re: Do you think DPs help or hurt Acoustic sales? [Re: pianoloverus] #2860438
06/19/19 12:54 PM
06/19/19 12:54 PM
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Germany
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by patH
Originally Posted by j&j
Just for clarification, a hybrid piano is a Kawai NV10 or a Yamaha Avant Grand. Yamaha calls their Diskclavier a Player System. So PatH- you really do have the best of both worlds, a Player System, and its much better IMHO than a hybrid.
Apparently I need to clarify more. wink

When I say "hybrid" I mean it has elements from acoustic and digital. Whether it's mostly acoustic or digital would depend on the sound generation.
A "Hybrid acoustic" in that sense would be an acoustic piano with incorporated digital technology, like a silent system or a player system. My Yamaha C2 SG has a silent system, not a player system. It's not a Disklavier.

A "hybrid digital" would be a digital piano with an acoustic action, like the Kawai NV10 or Yamaha AvantGrand. The sound is created digitally.
I believe j&j's definition of hybrid is the way that term is currently used in the piano market, i.e. a digital piano with and acoustic action.

I just checked the Yamaha website, and they are using "Hybrid Pianos" as an umbrella term for:
- Disklavier
- TransAcoustic
- Silent Piano
- AvantGrand
So I wasn't wrong. wink
https://uk.yamaha.com/en/products/musical_instruments/pianos/index.html

Now if only Yamaha built a hybrid motorcycle, and sold it to Europe... wink

Last edited by patH; 06/19/19 12:55 PM.

My grand piano is a Yamaha C2 SG.
Re: Do you think DPs help or hurt Acoustic sales? [Re: j&j] #2860441
06/19/19 12:58 PM
06/19/19 12:58 PM
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Originally Posted by j&j
I think the whole piano market including digital keeps shrinking, but digital sales do cut deeply into acoustic sales.

This may sadly be true. However, in my opinion it's better to have a digital piano in a home than no piano at all.


My grand piano is a Yamaha C2 SG.
Re: Do you think DPs help or hurt Acoustic sales? [Re: Groove On] #2860452
06/19/19 01:21 PM
06/19/19 01:21 PM
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Interesting thread.

"What came first, the chicken or the egg" comes to mind. While Digital keyboards must impact piano sales, to what degree is something that would be hard to prove.

As pianists progress they will eventually want an acoustic, my personal experience case in point. My son started with a 99 dollar 72 key Yamaha, then in a year progressed to a full weighted 88 key Yamaha P-125. After another year of progression we have just purchased a slightly used baby grand. so in the end having a digital did not impact our decision to buy acoustic, it cemented the need to do so.

Another benefit of the digital is we can keep it and our son will have it as he gets older, where-as if we had an upright we would not keep both...

I would suggest acoustic retailers to also offer digitals (The store we purchased our grand does), and consider some sort of trade-up discount (Not a trade-in but monetary discount if they decide to go acoustic in the future) to boost digital sales and set the stage for a future acoustic purchases.

Re: Do you think DPs help or hurt Acoustic sales? [Re: patH] #2860453
06/19/19 01:21 PM
06/19/19 01:21 PM
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Stockholm
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Originally Posted by patH
Originally Posted by j&j
I think the whole piano market including digital keeps shrinking, but digital sales do cut deeply into acoustic sales.

This may sadly be true. However, in my opinion it's better to have a digital piano in a home than no piano at all.

That’s what I thought when I got my DP. Acoustics are not an option when you live in a two room apartment on the third floor, with no elevator. Now in the future, when I buy my own house, I will have an acoustic piano. So here’s a future sale, at least.

Re: Do you think DPs help or hurt Acoustic sales? [Re: patH] #2860477
06/19/19 01:59 PM
06/19/19 01:59 PM
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Originally Posted by patH
I just checked the Yamaha website, and they are using "Hybrid Pianos" as an umbrella term for:
- Disklavier
- TransAcoustic
- Silent Piano
- AvantGrand
So I wasn't wrong. wink
https://uk.yamaha.com/en/products/musical_instruments/pianos/index.html
I stand corrected! I just checked The Piano Buyer which says that hybrids can be created from acoustic(sound created by hammer hitting the string) or digital(sound created electronically) pianos.

Re: Do you think DPs help or hurt Acoustic sales? [Re: Groove On] #2860560
06/19/19 05:44 PM
06/19/19 05:44 PM
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I like reading through this thread. In my observations, digital pianos do take away from acoustic sales. However, most of the sales they are taking are away from sub-par acoustic pianos. I think that upper level digital pianos including hybrid digitals should take away from many entry level or formerly entry level console uprights. Even the $599 Casio is better than 99% of spinets for a beginner to learn on because it is, most importantly, accurate, consistent, in tune, and cheap to own.

If the piano industry was not so predicated on long-term, investment purchases, I think more customers might have a real awakening of what makes a good piano. A good piano is one that helps you learn. I think that there are quite a few digital pianos that can do far more to encourage a beginning pianist in the first critical 1-2 years than an acoustic of the same price. Is is fair to worry about what happens in year 7 if the student quit or was discouraged before year 3?

Several of the current crop of digital pianos and accompanying lesson/learning software programs along with teaching instruction can create an almost magical success rate among average students. If a student runs fast and accomplishes enough in the beginning few levels, their success is predictable. If a digital piano holds their attention better during that critical stage, then it might be the critical investment.

High-end digital pianos and hybrids are, in some ways, a lifestyle product - offering conveniences and relatively few trade offs when compared to a vast range of good, middle-priced acoustic pianos. They aren't nearly as soul-satisfying to me, but they are good instruments. In this higher price range, I think they compete directly with new acoustic sales, but acoustic pianos still have the market advantage.

Very little competes with grand pianos...a few higher-end acoustic uprights do. If a hybrid is competing with an acoustic grand, it is almost always for a functional need or advantage, not for performance, space or price. There is still a very small percentage of furniture buyers, but most have a passion or a purpose before considering a grand, even a small one.


Sam Bennett
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