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Originally Posted by pianogabe
The figures are completely fictive to show a fundamental point. In reality it could also be the other way around, as you say. Or no difference. That is what I mean with "made up example". The point is that important differences in incidence may exist without this being spontaneously evident.

There was a thread a while back about injuries and acoustic instruments: http://forum.pianoworld.com/ubbthreads.php/topics/3099587/1.html .
One of the hypotheses of Joseph Fleetwood was that poorly regulated acoustic instruments were a significant culprit in injuries. This sounds right to me. When I looked at pianos this spring, I played a few (used) pianos at dealers, where the pianos were very uneven in how they played from note to note, and it was quite an uncomfortable experience for the very brief time I played the instruments.

This to say that if I were advising someone looking for their first piano, I would be much more concerned about injury related to an acoustic piano with an uneven action than a digital piano. Yes, acoustic actions can be regulated, but a lot of buyers won’t know that this is something that can be done.

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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
If one grain of sand on a beach is purple or two grains (or even ten)are purple does it make a difference? As far as some saying their digital's action is heavier, couldn't that just be because their acoustic had a very light action? I'm sure that digitals are designed to avoid heavy actions since that would not appeal to many.

I don't know much about sand, but as to disease and injury: whether or not it makes a difference depends on the group you think you belong to. In general, without specific information about your situation it is best to assume you are average. And if for most people there is no problem, there will likely not be a problem for you. If you have more specific information, say a family history of joint disease or you are currently experiencing hand injury, excessive fatigue, or you are older and just beginning to play piano, then it is best to look at statistics (or in absence of that even anecdotes) on people that are in your situation. That may be a minority group but to you it is an important one.

I don't know of any sources that show that overall digitals are comparatively light. "Heaviness" is a complex concept in actions. I do know of one site that has info on touch weight for a number of models: https://www.sweetwater.com/insync/keyboard-action-and-key-weight-experiment/ . There is critique on how they established touch weight, but for comparison it is still interesting. I tried the same measurement on my acoustic K300 (81 grams), and most of these digitals do not appear light in comparison. Some popular models (Yamaha P-125 and P-515) are heavier than an acoustic Yamaha S6X grand.

But, again, 'heaviness' is a complex concept and not necessarily the only factor that could explain injury.

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Originally Posted by Sgisela
This to say that if I were advising someone looking for their first piano, I would be much more concerned about injury related to an acoustic piano with an uneven action than a digital piano. Yes, acoustic actions can be regulated, but a lot of buyers won’t know that this is something that can be done.

Unevenness it terrible. My new ( less than 0.5 years old) digital CA58 was very uneven, sometimes between adjacent keys (e.g. a midi value difference of 25 for pp notes). It may have contributed to injury. I found a Youtube video of a piano teacher and forum member who identified the same problem in the same model when she was helping as student choosing a piano. Also other people have complained about the same problem on related models.

I don't know why so many people believe digital actions have no problems confused

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Originally Posted by dogperson
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
If one grain of sand on a beach is purple or two grains (or even ten)are purple does it make a difference? As far as some saying their digital's action is heavier, couldn't that just be because their acoustic had a very light action? I'm sure that digitals are designed to avoid heavy actions since that would not appeal to many.


Isn’t your primary piano an acoustic? Not sure I understand why you are insisting that those who have digitals as their primary instruments are wrong. Sorry, I’ll accept their experience over yours and mine any day.
I never said they were wrong about their personal experience. What I said a few times was I think their experience represents an incredibly tiny percent of those who own digitals. Hence, warning that digitals can cause injuries is not particularly reasonable.

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Originally Posted by pianogabe
Mechanistic explanations that have been suggested are all linked to the lack of escapement in a digital. This has been discussed at length in the digital forum. Here is one thread (but it is not the only one): http://forum.pianoworld.com//ubbthr...digital-actions-are-bad.html#Post2942112

Thank you pianogabe! I didn't read the whole thread - actually, I didn't even read the whole first posting. But I did read this:

Originally Posted by CyberGene
On a digital piano [...] the actual downweight will never change. Holding the key at the bottom will require more force than on a real piano.

I find this very interesting, because I have had feedback that I was keybedding, and since then on long notes, I try to relax my fingers, and only use the force necessary to keep the key down, which I have found, is quite a lot of force. So the potential relaxation I can get while playing a half note or longer, is not very much. And that could explain your idea that people may hurt their hands more on digital pianos than on acoustic. cool


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Yes that is the main problem I had with my digital CA58 as well. But I think I am more prone to injury because osteoarthritis runs in my family. So there is an interaction effect I think. There is almost never just one cause.

When I started trying out acoustics (both second hand and new ones) it seemed to me that on all of them it was easier to hold keys down than on that digital. The (new) K300 that I have now is excellent in that respect. The action is comparatively light and keys can be held down with almost no tension. And the sound is so beautiful.

It is not my idea by the way, I just learned this from another PW member, spanishbuddah. He probably doesn't know that I still thank him silently on my knees every day (well sometimes I skip a day).

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My humble 0.02c opinon and short personal experience of almost two years with pianos:

Just leaving out the most expensive digitals with complete acoustic actions, yes, in digitals there's no real escapement, so we're holding the hammers weights (almost) all the time.
Yes, the hammer is in a separated piece from the keystick, so we can "throw" it to the sensors when we play with high velocity, but by gravity it instanly comes back, and we're always holding, especially at the botton of the keybed, all the weight with the finger. (*note: there are many posts on this site about all this)

Because of the above, I think digital pianos are a bit more tiring and make relaxation techniques, like Taubman/Golandsky, etc, a bit less effective than on an acoustic. While most people do not have issues with that doesn't mean that a small percentage of more sensitive people, or with injuries or other medical conditions, don't have any issues.
Also in my humble opinion, for any concrete subject, the lack of scientific studies or any other "official" data abot the matter does not automatically disregard and completely rule out both common logic and personal experiences. I personally feel a small accoustic grand somewhat less tiring than my digital.

PD: I finally took the plunge and removed the fake "let-off simulation" rubber stripes on my CA48 and it instantly made the keys much more even. Obvoiusly the hammer weight is always there, there's no way to change that.


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Originally Posted by ECBetancor
Just leaving out the most expensive digitals with complete acoustic actions, yes, in digitals there's no real escapement, so we're holding the hammers weights (almost) all the time.

From my personal experience I don't really feel a huge difference between my MP11SE and a grand in terms of "holding weight". Measurements don't support this idea too: https://forums.musicplayer.com/ubbt...piano-key-action-and-static-touchweights SK7 is not that different from MP7SE. The difference between downweight and upweight is (at least in part) a result of friction, not escapement. Friction also exists on DPs. On a real grand dampers don't have escapements, and a hammer caught by a back check adds weight too, so the net result is very similar.

What is different though is a dynamic weight. My Yamaha GC2 feels noticeably heavier than MP11SE.

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Originally Posted by Victor66
Originally Posted by ECBetancor
Just leaving out the most expensive digitals with complete acoustic actions, yes, in digitals there's no real escapement, so we're holding the hammers weights (almost) all the time.

From my personal experience I don't really feel a huge difference between my MP11SE and a grand in terms of "holding weight". Measurements don't support this idea too: https://forums.musicplayer.com/ubbt...piano-key-action-and-static-touchweights SK7 is not that different from MP7SE.


That is a very interesting link. Still have to read that thread completely, but why do you say that measurements don't support the idea?

A quick analysis of the upweight column shows that the digital actions in that table have an average upweight of 47.2 grams, and the acoustic ones only 34.5 grams, a 37% difference, and a statistically highly significant one. The acoustic sample is dominated by Steinways though, and therefore no so representative. If we look at the Yamaha (hybrid) acoustic actions, these are only 24 and 27 grams upweight. That is only half of the average digital.

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That chart is faulty on a lot of levels, and has been discussed at length in the digital forum here.
Any comparison to the behavior of an acoustic action, based on that chart, is particularly so.


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Originally Posted by pianogabe
That is a very interesting link. Still have to read that thread completely, but why do you say that measurements don't support the idea?

A quick analysis of the upweight column shows that the digital actions in that table have an average upweight of 47.2 grams, and the acoustic ones only 34.5 grams, a 37% difference, and a statistically highly significant one. The acoustic sample is dominated by Steinways though, and therefore no so representative. If we look at the Yamaha (hybrid) acoustic actions, these are only 24 and 27 grams upweight. That is only half of the average digital.

You can't compare hybrids with a real acoustic action since they don't have dampers (with the exception of NV-10, which has UW of 35 grams in that table). For the purpose of action regulation DW/UW are measured with sustain pedal down, so when we say e.g. 50/25 it means without dampers (I haven't heard about UW < 20 grams on acoustics). Now, you don't always play with sustain pedal down, so from tiredness and relaxation perspective that damper weight should be added to at least UW (and for that table to DW due to the way it was measured), which can easily be ~20 grams, so 50/25 easily becomes 70/45 on acoustic. Given friction a bit less, say 80/40. DPs don't have dampers, so e.g. for MP11SE 70/40 is ... well, 70/40 however you measure it. I don't see a difference. As I understand in that table weights are given from a player, not a technician perspective, so the weight there is what player feels while playing and what makes fingers tired.

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Originally Posted by pianogabe
A quick analysis of the upweight column shows that the digital actions in that table have an average upweight of 47.2 grams, and the acoustic ones only 34.5 grams, a 37% difference, and a statistically highly significant one.

As for 37% my suspicion is that acoustic grands in the fields differ more than that. Even in that table we have SK-7 with UW 44 grams and S-155 with 24 grams (don't believe it though, unless it's due to excessive friction, I assume it was measured with dampers). That's close to 2x. MP11SE with 39 grams and P-515 with 67 (?)

Last edited by Victor66; 01/01/22 10:01 PM.
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What a surprise to see that so many "Piano Forum" folk advise a first timer--- who, I'll grant, sounded kind of clueless--- "Get a digital."

Maybe. I personally think otherwise: if you want your kid to learn to play the piano, get a piano. You can get both; that would be my real advice to our Original Poster. And being clueless is not actually much of an impairment, when you've found your way to a place where many of your questions can be answered, gladly and free of charge.

Sczerko [Our offline OP], if you return after an absence, like a long-period comet, let me say that you can probably find the information you are looking for by reading earlier posts on this forum, and maybe in the Digital Keyboard forum. They go back for years, but the same questions are often repeated, so you may not have far to dig.

It would help if you would say where you live--- a general idea is good enough--- and let us know a little more about your child's interests and why he or she wants to learn to play, or what kind of music. There is a vast universe of answers, and knowing a little more will help us reply in a way that is more useful to you.

To my way of thinking, it is really sort of charming when someone admits they are clueless and asks questions... in contrast to how odious it is when an ignorant person pretends to know everything, asks nothing, and opens his mouth only to spray forth a pack of lies. I can never remember whether it was Socrates or Aristotle who said, "When a wise man doesn't understand something, he says, "I don't understand." When a fool doesn't understand something, he says... nothing." So, you were smart enough to ask, and in my book, that's a great thing.

Would it help you to have links to some of the piano makers' websites? You can learn some things that might be useful to you, although I know you're not looking to buy new at the present, or maybe not ever. Maybe it would help you more to look at the link that appears at the top left column on this page:

https://www.pianobuyer.com/

Lots of good information, free of charge. If you're writing from inside the US or maybe Canada, you can get some information from the website of Piano Technicians Guild. They offer a look-up engine that will find qualified techs near you, sorted by Zip Code.

https:///ptg.com

You may be surprised that I would suggest a website to find piano tuners and technicians before you have a piano, but you will find out some things by talking to them. Sometimes, they know that one of their customers is getting ready to move up the piano food-chain, and will be selling their piano. At least, they will know all about that piano. Finding someone you like for this job can help, also, because it is very, very important to have any used instrument inspected for condition, by a qualified tech. It is not all that costly, and it can save you from an ocean of tears. Private sellers, are, well, sometimes they don't know what's what, or don't remember. Your consulting technician will read the true story inside the piano case, and will tell you the frank truth, including an estimate of its fair value in the local market.

This person should be paid for by you, solely; reporting to you, solely; and acting only in your interest.

I wish you the best of luck, and I hope that you do come back. We always like to know how things work out, and if you have more questions, be the wise man (or lady) who asks them.


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Originally Posted by Victor66
You can't compare hybrids with a real acoustic action since they don't have dampers (with the exception of NV-10, which has UW of 35 grams in that table).

Thanks Victor66 for clarifying this. I had indeed forgotten that the Yamaha hybrids don't have dampers. They are a special case then.

Originally Posted by Victor66
As I understand in that table weights are given from a player, not a technician perspective, so the weight there is what player feels while playing and what makes fingers tired.

Indeed and that was why I thought the table was particularly interesting.

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