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Hi Piano World!
This is my very first post so please forgive me if I've messing something up or I'm doing something wrong!

Short version: I'm really struggling with left hand/wrist pain when I play my Dexibell Vivo S3 Pro for just a couple of songs but I can play my other digital pianos for hours without trouble!

Long version: I played piano as a kid for about 6 years and then switched to the guitar when I was 11. I'm 47 now. So that's a lot of guitar! For the past couple of decades I've played professionally as a touring singer/songwriter (kind of a folk/country style.) I took up the piano last May and my eventual goal is to mostly replace the guitar when I'm back to traveling and playing shows.

I started in May on a Casio CGP-700 that we bought mostly for our kids. When I got really serious about it, I needed my own piano. I'm tall (6'4") so my legs don't fit well under the stand we have for the CGP-700. I was just fine with the Casio so I went with a PX-560. I noticed right away that there was more key noise with the PX-560 than with the CGP-700. Then, after about 2 weeks one of the keys got really noisy. Sweetwater offered to replace it but given the key noise and the fact that one broke so quickly, I decided to upgrade. I returned the PX-560 and bought a Dexibell Vivo S3 Pro. This was in mid-September.

Everything about the Dexibell was noticeably better but the action felt stiff to me compared to the both the PX-560 and the CGP-700. I figured I would get used to this so I pressed on. I play for 2-3 hours a day most days and pretty soon I was struggling with a ton of hand and forearm pain, especially when working on boogie bass lines, rock, blues, etc. I chalked this up mostly to my training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and perhaps bad piano technique. I eased off on the BJJ training and made sure to focus on my technique, good stretching and warm-ups but nothing helped. A few weeks ago I sat down at the kids' Casio and I could just fly! It felt wonderful! I started to think that maybe this is more about the Dexibell and less about me!

I started shopping and after tons of research and playing around, I tried a Yamaha P515 and fell in love! The feel and action are wonderful and I can play it for hours without any trouble. I've tried going back to the Dexibell a couple of times and I end up with pain in my left wrist very quickly (on the underside about where a watch strap would sit.)

Can anyone help me understand why I have so much trouble with the Dexibell? Is this something that could get better if I keep playing it? I bought it for the sound quality and the portability but I sure couldn't play it comfortably for any length of time if there was any up-tempo music involved.

I've played so many guitars over the years and I certainly have preferences and some guitars feel better than others but I can't imagine having pain from playing any decent guitar. I find it so strange that I'm struggling with what is, by all accounts, supposed to be an excellent instrument. But I am new to all of this.

Any help or advice would be wonderful!

Thanks!
Matt

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Well, since you can play the 515 for hours, I am guessing (EMPHASIZE GUESSING) that if you just play a bit on the Dexibell here and there (avoiding any pain) .... you will eventually build up whatever it is your hands are missing that are required on the Dexibell that are not required on the 515.

A little at a time will probably fix the problem, over time (2 or 3 months).

GUESSING !!!!!


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Seems clear the Dexibell is not for you. The 515 has a stiffer action, so it’s something else. Just sell it and avoid any further injury. I’ve been playing for sixty years on acoustics and digital. I had the vaunted Kawai MP11 and found the action not right for me. It can be very subjective. Don’t fight it, IMO.


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The Dexibell has the Fatar TP-100 LR action, which is a very heavy action I believe. I guess it isn’t a good choice for serious practice.

You could check the down weight yourself by stacking coins (nickels?) on the end of middle C (start with about 40g worth) and see when the key drops with a bit of vibration (e.g by striking an adjacent key). If you’re getting, say, >65g, that’s higher than most other pianos and is likely the cause of your problem.

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The Buddha once had a conversation with someone who asked him a theological question. The essence was:

. . . "If you've been shot with an arrow,
. . . . . would you care about what caste the archer belonged to?"

You know that the older Casio "Tri-Sensor II" action, and the Yamaha "NWX" action, are compatible with your playing,

. . . and that the Dexibell Vivo S3 action is _not_ compatible.

. . . So don't play on the Dexibell !

These problems have come up before. IMHO, there are two things that make them very difficult to unravel:

(1) We have no decent _quantitative_ parameters for describing a DP's action.

(2) We have no decent _quantitative_ parameters for describing a player's "touch", when he/she strikes a key (or a bunch of them).

So a good teacher _might_ be able to see you play, and figure out what you're doing that's causing trouble --

. . . and then you'd have to un-do years of practice.


FWIW, I think that pain on the lower side of your wrist is likely to be some kind of carpal tunnel syndrome. That it's set off by blues and boogie-woogie, suggests that you're pounding the keys, harder, and with more tension than you need. The Casio and Yamaha NWX actions are a little more forgiving of that, than the Dexibell.

"Soft bottoming" is really nice in a DP action. Try a Roland PHA-50 action (FP-90, DP-603) for another action you might find OK. But the P-515 should last you for a while.

If you want to follow it up, a good starting point might be:

"What Every Pianist Needs to Know About the Body" -- Thomas Mark

It sounds like you're having fun -- keep it up!


. Charles
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Originally Posted by Charles Cohen
The Buddha once had a conversation with someone who asked him a theological question. The essence was:

. . . "If you've been shot with an arrow,
. . . . . would you care about what caste the archer belonged to?"

Did they ever find out what caste the archer belonged to?

If not, I demand an investigation!

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Thank you all for the quick replies! I really appreciate the help! I've been trying to educate myself on all of the different types of action so I have a better understanding of what I'm dealing with.

Originally Posted by IosPlayer
Seems clear the Dexibell is not for you. The 515 has a stiffer action, so it’s something else. Just sell it and avoid any further injury. I’ve been playing for sixty years on acoustics and digital. I had the vaunted Kawai MP11 and found the action not right for me. It can be very subjective. Don’t fight it, IMO.

This is an interesting point. The Yamaha doesn't feel like light action compared to the Casio but there is something about it that makes it very easy for me to play. When I go back to the Dexibell, the keys feel very sluggish to me.

Originally Posted by Charles Cohen
FWIW, I think that pain on the lower side of your wrist is likely to be some kind of carpal tunnel syndrome. That it's set off by blues and boogie-woogie, suggests that you're pounding the keys, harder, and with more tension than you need. The Casio and Yamaha NWX actions are a little more forgiving of that, than the Dexibell.

If you want to follow it up, a good starting point might be:

"What Every Pianist Needs to Know About the Body" -- Thomas Mark

It sounds like you're having fun -- keep it up!

I am concerned about the possibility of carpal tunnel! I just ordered the Thomas Mark book. Thank you for that recommendation. I'm sure I am playing with more tension than needed. I'm in the process of scheduling some in-person lessons for the first time since I started playing so I'm excited to have someone watch me play and hopefully correct some of my bad habits.

Even with all of this screwing around, I am having a ton of fun with the piano! I should have started years ago!

Thanks again!
Matt

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Dexibell has quite a bit of adjustment in the key touch.

You might try setting it to be lighter.

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Originally Posted by Purdy
Dexibell has quite a bit of adjustment in the key touch.

You might try setting it to be lighter.

Thank you for the suggestion. I have it on Light+ right now which is one away from the lightest. I had it set up yesterday and I was messing with the velocity but I didn't have much time to play around. I should spend a bit more time seeing if some of those adjustments might help.

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It appears from the manual that you can fine tune beyond the seven levels and might be able to go even lighter than light +

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Originally Posted by Purdy
It appears from the manual that you can fine tune beyond the seven levels and might be able to go even lighter than light +

Thank you again! I have tried Light++. I just went and looked at the manual and found some adjustments I haven't seen before. I have gone into the velocity curve and played around with that a bit but I haven't seen where I can select pp - ff so I'll have to give that a go.

Thanks!
Matt

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Originally Posted by Pete14
Originally Posted by Charles Cohen
The Buddha once had a conversation with someone who asked him a theological question. The essence was:

. . . "If you've been shot with an arrow,
. . . . . would you care about what caste the archer belonged to?"

Did they ever find out what caste the archer belonged to?[...]
No, no luck until now. They only found some cryptic letters and numbers on the arrow: "P e T e 1 4". Who knows!

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Be aware that the most significant force needed when attempting to make a sound on a piano is the force needed to get the key moving from a state of rest.

That force is always the same regardless of any setting you might make within the software.

Once it is moving, then the setting (light, light++, heavy, etc ...) simply defines what the velocity of the key must be ... in order to produce a sound with the desired loudness.

It may very well be that the force needed to get the key moving is what is bothering


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Originally Posted by open-road-matt
Short version: I'm really struggling with left hand/wrist pain when I play my Dexibell Vivo S3 Pro for just a couple of songs but I can play my other digital pianos for hours without trouble!

I haven't read the long version or other comments..but I would suggest to not figure out how you can live with Dexibell. Don't risk creating a permanent hand injury. For piano players, it is just not worth the risk. Just sell it and buy something else that your hands like.

Osho

Last edited by Osho; 03/01/21 07:24 PM.

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Originally Posted by dmd
Be aware that the most significant force needed when attempting to make a sound on a piano is the force needed to get the key moving from a state of rest.

That force is always the same regardless of any setting you might make within the software.

Once it is moving, then the setting (light, light++, heavy, etc ...) simply defines what the velocity of the key must be ... in order to produce a sound with the desired loudness.

It may very well be that the force needed to get the key moving is what is bothering

Thank you for your help! That is an interesting point. The last time I played the Dexibell I tried Light++ and didn't notice a difference when it came to how my hands felt.

Originally Posted by Osho
I haven't read the long version or other comments..but I would suggest to not figure out how you can live with Dexibell. Don't risk creating a permanent hand injury. For piano players, it is just not worth the risk. Just sell it and buy something else that your hands like.

Osho

Thank you! This is pretty much where I have landed on this. I know selling the Dexibell will be difficult, both from the standpoint of finding an actual buyer and because I'm disappointed that it didn't work for me. But I do think it is the wise approach and I'll file it in the "live and learn" folder!

Thanks again!
Matt

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Quote
Once it is moving, then the setting (light, light++, heavy, etc ...) simply defines what the velocity of the key must be ... in order to produce a sound with the desired loudness.

This is true but, since keys have mass, it takes more force to move them faster.

Playing fff will take more force than ppp.

There appear to be settings lighter than light in fact I think there are 127 levels for the velocity curve according to the manual

but I think it is good advice, that if you are struggling with the keyboard and pain that is a good sign to move on.

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If I depress the key of a grand piano whilst moving at the speed of light in outer space (headed to Andromeda) will the key come back to its resting position or will the meaning of ‘resting position’ need to be re-evaluated because the key now rests when it should’ve moved?

Or is it simply impractical to even consider shipping a grand piano into outer space?

I’ve been baffled by this for many years because my plan is to someday move to Andromeda. Yes, I would like to play a grand on my way there, and if I can’t play a piano in outer space, well, then I might as well simply move to Florida!

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Another 'possibility' is posture, as dictated by the height of the bench / keyboard. I used to play piano sitting quite low so that my elbows were a fair bit below the level of the keys and yes I got a fair amount of pain (but usually played through it - I wouldn't do that these days). It seems unlikely because you aren't having the same problem with other keyboards, but perhaps is worth considering.


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Originally Posted by Pete14
If I depress the key of a grand piano whilst moving at the speed of light in outer space (headed to Andromeda) will the key come back to its resting position or will the meaning of ‘resting position’ need to be re-evaluated because the key now rests when it should’ve moved?

Or is it simply impractical to even consider shipping a grand piano into outer space?

I’ve been baffled by this for many years because my plan is to someday move to Andromeda. Yes, I would like to play a grand on my way there, and if I can’t play a piano in outer space, well, then I might as well simply move to Florida!

You will be able to play normally - the keys will behave exactly the same for you as when you are "at rest" on earth.

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.......then it’s all the way to Andromeda for me! wink

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