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Kawai DP Key Feel
#2933575 01/14/20 05:01 AM
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Hi all,

This question related to the coating of the keys on Kawai Digital Pianos.

I can't find a lot of info online other than they're "Ivory / Ebony Touch". I've played the CA58 / 98 / CS11 back to back with Kawai GL50 and GX5 and I like the action feel - I'm able to get my fingers to do things on all of these instruments that my current DP (Casio PX770) just can't do...

I really don't like the key surface feel of the Kawai DPs though... what's the reasoning for this finish? Is it accurate to ivory keys? - I've never played a piano with actual ivory keys. I'm also considering a Casio GP series piano which has a much nicer finish to the keys and much more like the Kawai grands.

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Re: Kawai DP Key Feel
Seb Clement #2933578 01/14/20 05:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Seb Clement
I'm able to get my fingers to do things on all of these instruments that my current DP (Casio PX770) just can't do...


The coating might not be the (only) issue.

Re: Kawai DP Key Feel
clothearednincompo #2933585 01/14/20 06:51 AM
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Originally Posted by clothearednincompo
Originally Posted by Seb Clement
I'm able to get my fingers to do things on all of these instruments that my current DP (Casio PX770) just can't do...


The coating might not be the (only) issue.

I think that's understood. I think OP means, that *despite* the key surface that he doesn't like, he can get his fingers to do things that they can't on his current Casio.

Alas, I have no answer to OPs question.

Except for maybe a pointer: The keytop material is ultimately unimportant, for standard home use. Whatever material your piano of choice has, you get used to it in short order and won't think about it anymore.

Re: Kawai DP Key Feel
JoBert #2933588 01/14/20 07:10 AM
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Originally Posted by JoBert
The keytop material is ultimately unimportant, for standard home use. Whatever material your piano of choice has, you get used to it in short order and won't think about it anymore.

This is completely false.
Sweaty fingers slide all over the place on Casio GP keys.

Whereas the Kawai CA78/CA98 keys are far more porous / textured (especially the ebonies), affording sweaty fingers much, much greater purchase on the keys.

The downsides to the Kawai CA98 are:
1. Key let-off simulation (rubber strip) slows down the key velocity (can be fixed by manually removing the rubber strip).
2. The upright piano soundboard doesn't match the grand piano sampling (design flaw).
3. The bottom of the keypress is spongy due to padding that can also become uneven over time.

Last edited by Burkie; 01/14/20 07:18 AM.

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Re: Kawai DP Key Feel
Burkey #2933631 01/14/20 09:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Burkie
Originally Posted by JoBert
The keytop material is ultimately unimportant, for standard home use. Whatever material your piano of choice has, you get used to it in short order and won't think about it anymore.

This is completely false.
Sweaty fingers slide all over the place on Casio GP keys.


I played a GP310 recently and slippery keytops were the first thing I noticed. Would have liked to play for longer to see whether this was a real issue.


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Re: Kawai DP Key Feel
Seb Clement #2933636 01/14/20 09:45 AM
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Originally Posted by Seb Clement
Is it accurate to ivory keys? - I've never played a piano with actual ivory keys.

If you're old enough to know what a real chalkboard is, to me ivory keys kind of feel like the surface of a very clean chalkboard. It's very smooth but is slightly porous so your fingers get a slight bit of grip. It's especially noticeable if you move quickly up the keyboard to hit a far away note, and your hand is going sideways as you strike the note. On plastic it's easy for your finger to slide, on ivory it does better.
I have played quite a few different Kawai DPs and can't say I notice the keys being much better or worse than any other quality DPs, other than really cheap DPs which have plain old plastic which is not only slippery, but also kind of makes my fingers grab on the keys.
I think it might be that whatever you buy first is what you get used to, and then it can be hard to get used to something else even if it's "better".


Yamaha P90, Kawai GL-10
Re: Kawai DP Key Feel
Seb Clement #2933638 01/14/20 09:51 AM
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on my Casio I noticed a problem when my fingers were sweaty and the keys being slippery. My Kawai MP11SE is much better with sweaty fingers, but at the opposite end, when my fingers get dry (age related loss of skin oils) I find the Kawai keys are slippery. However you don't want to put moisturiser on your fingers just before you start playing. That really won't help stop the keys from being slippery.

I think I just need to improve my playing skills.

Re: Kawai DP Key Feel
Seb Clement #2933672 01/14/20 11:07 AM
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I love the textured key surfaces of my PX-160. However, the acoustic pianos in my college's music department, which I sneak down to play on here and there, do not have similarly textured keys, not being old enough to have actual ivory and ebony. So as much as I like the texture, I wonder if I'm handicapping myself by relying on it.


Decent upright bassist; aspiring decent pianist
Present: Roland DP-603, Roland FP-30, Casio CDP-130
Past: Casio PX-830, Casio PX-160
Etc.: Yamaha MX61, PianoTeq Stage 6 (Bechstein, Bluethner, U4, Vibes, Xylo), Roland KC-80
Re: Kawai DP Key Feel
Burkey #2933674 01/14/20 11:11 AM
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Originally Posted by Burkie
Originally Posted by JoBert
The keytop material is ultimately unimportant, for standard home use. Whatever material your piano of choice has, you get used to it in short order and won't think about it anymore.

This is completely false.
Sweaty fingers slide all over the place on Casio GP keys.

Whereas the Kawai CA78/CA98 keys are far more porous / textured (especially the ebonies), affording sweaty fingers much, much greater purchase on the keys.

The downsides to the Kawai CA98 are:
1. Key let-off simulation (rubber strip) slows down the key velocity (can be fixed by manually removing the rubber strip).
2. The upright piano soundboard doesn't match the grand piano sampling (design flaw).
3. The bottom of the keypress is spongy due to padding that can also become uneven over time.

Exactly what I felt when playing the CA98.
Bottom is spongy. It feels like the upright. I play during my lessons. (Samick)


My pianos : Kawai ES8, Yamaha N1X
Headphone : Beyerdynamic DT 770 pro 80 Ω

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