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Digital vs Real piano for practicing
#3001698 07/12/20 04:04 AM
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Hello,
At this moment, I am in the eternal intermediate / low level with the piano.
I have two digital pianos at home (Casio PX-760 and PX-5S) one of which I use as a midi keyboard for composing.
And I'm considering taking a step forward, but I'm not sure which one to take.
Well, I rather value two options:
- Keep the two pianos I have and practice with PianoTeq
- Buy an upright piano with Silent system (2nd hand)
The most comfortable for me is the first option, but what do I miss for not practicing with a real piano?
Would you learn faster?
Would you play better?
I appreciate any comments. Thank you.

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Re: Digital vs Real piano for practicing
Aceituna #3001701 07/12/20 04:28 AM
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What type of music are playing mostly?

Re: Digital vs Real piano for practicing
Aceituna #3001702 07/12/20 04:39 AM
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Hi Aceituna.

Quite difficult to answer...

Everyone has its own priorities ;-)

Are you supposed to move ?
I had an acoustic piano at home but needed to move to an apartment.
I sold it and bought a digital.
I lost a lot, sound, hability to build the sound.
The fact that a real piano is alive.

I don’t think you learn faster with a real piano though.

But the pleasure is not the same. ( if you choose the good one, for your liking)

So, perhaps, you will spend more time in front of a real than your digital, so you’ll learn....
faster! :-)

If it’s not a question of money, space, moving , Météo, ( humidity, temperature) take a real.

Pleasure, pleasure, pleasure!
( considering you will not spend 80% playing with headsets)

Re: Digital vs Real piano for practicing
Aceituna #3001704 07/12/20 05:08 AM
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A digital with longer keys is fine for practicing most things, and I think superior to most uprights. I practice on a Kawai CA95, and I don't feel like it hurts my technique. Shorter pianos like Roland PHA (22cm longer version), Yamaha NWX, will take some time to adjust back to a normal grand piano.

Re: Digital vs Real piano for practicing
Aceituna #3001708 07/12/20 05:26 AM
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Hakki +1.

I can add, does a DP or acoustic inspire you?

Did you ever look seriously into acoustics, eg visit a few dealers and test their range of pianos? Did you hear the large differences in sound and feel? Did you try the range of colors you can get from them? Does it sound the same to you as your DP?


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Re: Digital vs Real piano for practicing
trigalg693 #3001720 07/12/20 06:08 AM
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Originally Posted by trigalg693
Shorter pianos like Roland PHA (22cm longer version), Yamaha NWX, will take some time to adjust back to a normal grand piano.

Having both a PHA50 action and a grand, I don't believe this is true.

Last edited by johnstaf; 07/12/20 06:14 AM.
Re: Digital vs Real piano for practicing
johnstaf #3001734 07/12/20 08:26 AM
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Originally Posted by johnstaf
Originally Posted by trigalg693
Shorter pianos like Roland PHA (22cm longer version), Yamaha NWX, will take some time to adjust back to a normal grand piano.

Having both a PHA50 action and a grand, I don't believe this is true.
Agreed!


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Re: Digital vs Real piano for practicing
Aceituna #3001743 07/12/20 08:50 AM
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It depends entirely on your goals with pianos. Do you see yourself performing at recitals? Do you intend to play acoustic pianos in the future? For piano students intending to make a career in music, being able to perform well on an acoustic piano is pretty much mandatory. If not, there’s really no reason to learn to adapt to playing an acoustic.
If you yourself have always wanted to get an acoustic for yourself, that’s something different. If you are inexperienced with acoustics go to some piano dealerships and try to play as many different uprights and grands as you can. Figure out what you like and what you love and what you don’t care for. Make yourself a firm budget but play pianos above and below what you can afford. Check out some private sales for used pianos. Do not buy anything used unless you get an independent piano technician to inspect it.

Acoustic pianos are made with many organic materials like wood and felt. They need regular maintenance with tuning, regulation, and voicing. I think it’s completely worth the hassle and price, but it sure isn’t for everyone. Best Wishes on your piano journey and keep us posted on what you decide!

Last edited by j&j; 07/12/20 08:52 AM.

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Re: Digital vs Real piano for practicing
Aceituna #3001752 07/12/20 09:32 AM
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It’s analogous to the book Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, you are the environment when you are on a motorcycle, not watching through a window in the car.
You can spend thousands to make it sound and even feel like a real pian, but unless there are real strings, you miss being inhaled by the instrument.

Re: Digital vs Real piano for practicing
Aceituna #3001759 07/12/20 09:47 AM
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I have both and even with a moderately good acoustic piano you have a little bit more connection to the instrument. Digital is not that bad though if it´s a good one.

If you use the advantages of the digital, that is the ease of looking at and hearing what you played and reflecting on it, then that will make you learn much faster and this will obviously translate to any acoustic as well. If you have an option to connect your computer to the silent-system of the acoustic then you have the best of both worlds.

Just don´t forget to factor in maintenance on the acoustic or you will not have a good time.

Re: Digital vs Real piano for practicing
Aceituna #3001763 07/12/20 09:54 AM
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Pretty obvious, I suppose, but a ramshackle old spinet or console won't be better than a digital with a good action, just because it's a "real piano". If you can afford an acoustic studio (or console) in decent shape, most of us would get more enjoyment out of that.

Re: Digital vs Real piano for practicing
Aceituna #3001770 07/12/20 10:04 AM
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In my opinion, either will do just fine. And, if the acoustic is a poor example, the digital will be better. Of course, there are some poor digital pianos, I suppose. But I'd think in this day and age, most any weighted-88 key digital would be fine.

Having played many different pianos, mostly acoustic, I will say that they are all different. I much prefer an acoustic, however, even a poor example.

As someone else mentioned, the digital has advantages. Here lately, I've been playing my digital a good bit, with the drum-beat accompaniment. I have a bad habit of starting out at one tempo, and then getting excited and speeding up the tempo toward the end of the song/piece/arrangement/selection, or whatever you want to call it.

I've also learned that the digital is somewhat a different animal in regards to using the sustain pedal. It is way different than an acoustic in good order.

As for just practicing as opposed to performing, if you perform on a different piano, acoustic or digital, than you practice on, there are going to be differences. So, don't get too used to playing one single instrument, if you ever plan to play/perform on others. They are all slightly different. Some more than others.

Good luck!

Rick


Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel
Re: Digital vs Real piano for practicing
Aceituna #3001810 07/12/20 11:19 AM
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I have a digital and an acoustic, but 80% of my practice is on the digital because I play in the early morning with headphones. The digital is fine to learn the piece. Once it's more or less smooth, I will play it on the acoustic. There is some small amount of adjustment, but no detriment to having learned it on a digital that I can sense.

The main thing for me is that my acoustic's action is a little heavier than my DP. In some ways this makes it easier to play the acoustic as I'm less likely to hit ghost notes. But for very fast pieces and passages, more time on the acoustic is helpful to build up the muscles. However, if the acoustic you end up playing doesn't have a heavier action than the DP, this should not be an issue.

I'd say you're fine practicing on a DP and it get can you 90% there, especially if you have access to an acoustic from time to time so you can get used to the differences. Another nice thing about a DP is I can fit mine into my bedroom. This gives me much more opportunity to practice as I can simply shut the door, put on my headphones and go. My acoustic is in the living room and not always accessible with life buzzing around it most of the day.

Last edited by Emery Wang; 07/12/20 11:22 AM.

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Re: Digital vs Real piano for practicing
Aceituna #3001832 07/12/20 12:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Aceituna
Hello,
At this moment, I am in the eternal intermediate / low level with the piano.
I have two digital pianos at home (Casio PX-760 and PX-5S) one of which I use as a midi keyboard for composing.
And I'm considering taking a step forward, but I'm not sure which one to take.
Well, I rather value two options:
- Keep the two pianos I have and practice with PianoTeq
- Buy an upright piano with Silent system (2nd hand)
The most comfortable for me is the first option, but what do I miss for not practicing with a real piano?
Would you learn faster?
Would you play better?
I appreciate any comments. Thank you.

OK - let's look at some variables.

  • Budget - Looking at current prices for the instruments you already own, it looks like $1500 was about what you have already layed out.
  • Skill Level - "eternal intermediate"
  • Interest in/opportunities to perform on other instruments publicly - unknown
  • Focus - composing is primary? secondary on playing as part of composing as well as for personal enjoyment


Much as I love acoustic pianos, and I own two very good ones, there are times when I recommend electronic pianos as preferable, and in some cases, superior to acoustics. This is one of those times.

I think if you sold both your instruments and replaced them with something in the $3000 to $4000 price point with a better instrument from Roland, Yamaha or Kawai, that this would be a great choice for you. I'd go for fully weighted wooden keys, because they will have more resistance and resilience and be more like playing a "real" acoustic piano. They're better for longer periods at the instrument.

Beyond that, the electronic instrument gives you some things the acoustic cannot, e.g., a ZERO $ tuning budget, the ability to transpose, the ability to use historical temperaments, the ability to record what you are playing to midi and/or sound files.

When I was working at a university with a very limited piano budget in a music department that offered liberal arts, not conservatory concentrations, we brought in a number of instruments for "test drives" by the students. The electronic one, in this case the CA-78 from Kawai, was, by far, favored over a very nice K-300 that was also available. We also had a hybrid (out of budget for you, closer to $10K) that was available to piano majors, and... they loved it.

Hope this helps.


Andrew Kraus, Pianist
Educated Amateur Tuner/Technician
Rockville, MD USA
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Re: Digital vs Real piano for practicing
Aceituna #3001835 07/12/20 12:23 PM
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Hi Aceituna,

Of course if you own a fine acoustic piano, there is absolutely no problem in practicing. However, some of the digital piano technology available today makes for a great experience as well. For my money in stability of technology, servicability, and performance, I lean towards the Yamaha line when talking about piano technology. I have also carried Kawai and Roland during my career but from a comprehensive look Yamaha has no equal.

If there is a problem (there almost never is) they are by far the most responsive. The technology and performance are unmatched as well, IMHO. Your mileage may vary, but those are my feelings.

If you would like to hear about reasons a professional pianist enjoys having a digital, check out this video we made with Frederic Chiu: https://youtu.be/Oniz97qcNwY

Good luck,


Rich Galassini
Cunningham Piano Co.
Philadelphia, King of Prussia, and Cherry Hill, NJ
(215) 991-0834 direct line
rich@cunninghampiano.com
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Re: Digital vs Real piano for practicing
Aceituna #3001851 07/12/20 01:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Rich Galassini
For my money in stability of technology, servicability, and performance, I lean towards the Yamaha line when talking about piano technology. I have also carried Kawai and Roland during my career but from a comprehensive look Yamaha has no equal.

If there is a problem (there almost never is) they are by far the most responsive. The technology and performance are unmatched as well, IMHO. Your mileage may vary, but those are my feelings.

Keep in mind, this is coming from a Yamaha dealer.

Rick


Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel
Re: Digital vs Real piano for practicing
Colin Miles #3001853 07/12/20 01:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Colin Miles
Agreed!

You have an LX706, that's got the longer 24cm keys, that one is fine.

The 2cm makes a big difference.

Re: Digital vs Real piano for practicing
Rickster #3001859 07/12/20 02:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Rickster
Originally Posted by Rich Galassini
For my money in stability of technology, servicability, and performance, I lean towards the Yamaha line when talking about piano technology. I have also carried Kawai and Roland during my career but from a comprehensive look Yamaha has no equal.

If there is a problem (there almost never is) they are by far the most responsive. The technology and performance are unmatched as well, IMHO. Your mileage may vary, but those are my feelings.

Keep in mind, this is coming from a Yamaha dealer.

Rick

Ok. I’m not a Yamaha dealer and have no monetary ties to Yamaha, but I have had two acoustic Yamahas I loved that both met and exceeded my expectations. Good solid value for the price I paid. Excellent dealer and all their pianos are well prepped. I’ve tried their digital pianos, hybrids and even a Transacoustic and am impressed with everything in piano technology that I’ve tried. Yamaha is a great choice in my book.

Completely unsolicited opinion.


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Re: Digital vs Real piano for practicing
trigalg693 #3001866 07/12/20 02:41 PM
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Originally Posted by trigalg693
Originally Posted by Colin Miles
Agreed!

You have an LX706, that's got the longer 24cm keys, that one is fine.

The 2cm makes a big difference.

It's 26cm or thereabouts.

Re: Digital vs Real piano for practicing
Aceituna #3001968 07/12/20 08:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Aceituna
The most comfortable for me is the first option, but what do I miss for not practicing with a real piano?

The question is, do you want a real piano or something that inspires to be a piano and do it poorly at best.

No digital comes close to playing a real piano.

The sound is pretty good these days but the feel of the instrument being alive is just not there.

If you have the financial means, get an acoustic. It is an all around better experience.


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