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Joined: May 2007
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I've been playing an old Clavinova for the past 10 years. I love it, but the keys are starting to wear out on me... rattling issues and so forth. I've been looking for a new digital but to get one that I'm happy with, sound and touch-wise is going to run me about $4000. I know I can get into a pretty good acoustic for that price or a little more.

So... any thoughts on the pros and cons of acoustic over digital? These are the pros of digitals to me:

1. can play on headphones (great since I like to play late at night)
2. can practice left & right hand separate on difficult passages by using the record/playback function... I use this feature all the time.
3. light and portable... no need to hire a piano mover each time we move
4. it's a one-time only cost... no ongoing maintenance cost (ex. tuning)
5. some of the extra sounds are nice to have, although I do use the piano sound 99% of the time.

On the other hand, nothing sounds and feels quite like the real thing.

I would love to have some feedback from you. Have any of you switched from acoustic to digital for some reason? Those of you that switched from a digital to an acoustic, did you miss the digital? Any comments would be welcome. I'm having a tough time making up my mind on this one. (!!) :-/

thanks a lot!


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I think you answered your own question when you said that "nothing sounds and feels quite like the real thing."

In other words, go out and get the real thing!


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Your post made me think of a quote I read in a story from Music Inc.
The quote is from Dr. Michael Baron, head of piano studies at The Bower School of Music, he said

"As good as digital pianos are these days, they just cannot match the particular touch that is unique to a fine acoustic piano. When I teach students who have spent many years working with digital pianos, I find a severe lack of artistic touch in their approach"

Last edited by Cadillackid; 06/17/09 05:07 PM.

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Based upon the pre-release materials and hype, Yamaha's Avant Grand is supposed to give you the best of both worlds. I don't know if it is released yet, but you should go and try it when it does come out and/or do some research on the forum about it. Maybe you can get a digital with all the touch and sound of an acoustic (although it is pretty heavy compared with other digitals).

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There's a lot to be said for having both. Each is an instrument in its own right. But... that might take some planning, to get your end game going.

Meanwhile, you have the digital now. If you were to use it less, having an acoustic, it would put less wear on it and it might hold out for you until you can find the right new replacement.

It is an excellent time to be in the market for an acoustic, sellers are motivated to negotiate and deal... if you are. My sense is that you might spend a bit less than you think for the digital, and a bit more for the acoustic. Landing the deal for something of better quality that will sound and hold up better, and have better resale value, is worth the effort.


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Kar, Certainly a digital piano has its good points. And I would say to buy one for precisely the reasons you stated. But my recommendation is to buy an acoustic grand piano, and get the best one you can afford. My daughter just bought a Steinway A, and after spending a few years on her digital piano she realized that her skill level actually went down, and now she is using the Steinway to re-gain her previous skill level (which was quite high). Point being that the skill of playing piano at a high level will only be possible to achieve on the real thing.

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Kar,

I recently faced a similar dilemma. I am by no means an exptert in the field, but Ill give you my opinion if it helps. Unlike you, I did not already have a digital piano; however I was beginning to look into buying one or the other. I grew up playing both, so recognized the benefits/limitations of each instrument. In the end, I really treat the two as completely different instruments. A digital piano, as you already mentioned, allows you to record, practice each hand separately, use various sounds, beats, etc..and allows you a little more creativity if you are recording. However, as you also said, and what I decided was "nothing sounds and feels quite like the real thing." I was looking at the Yamaha CVP 400 series, and though the instrument was quite impressive, every time I played the acoustic beside it I just couldn’t help but notice the digital grand sound lacking. This is what made my decision for me, and I chose to purchase an acoustic instead. It was delivered Monday, and I am 100% satisfied with my purchase.

In addition, acoustics will simply retain more value than digitals. The way I see it, buying a digital piano is like buying a computer...bigger and better digital pianos will come out every few years, decreasing the value of the one you own. So if you are looking to purchase this instrument, trade in and upgrade in the future, might be something to think about.

Bottom line in my opinion, the question can only be answered by you. Im sure either way you go, you will love the piano you decide on. If it fits your needs, and allows you to be as creative as you can be, then it’s the right instrument for you. Just my opinions, but thought Id chime in since I recently was on the fence as well.

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Originally Posted by Kar
I've been playing an old Clavinova for the past 10 years. I love it, but the keys are starting to wear out on me... rattling issues and so forth. I've been looking for a new digital but to get one that I'm happy with, sound and touch-wise is going to run me about $4000. I know I can get into a pretty good acoustic for that price or a little more.

You just can't beat the sound and the touch of an acoustic piano. But why not keep your Clavinova and focus your financial resources on an acoustic one?

That's what I did. The acoustic is in the main-floor piano room and the digital has a home in the upstairs computer room. When I want to use MIDI, or practice with headphones, I go upstairs.

You'll end up playing the digital a lot less than you do now (which means the wear and tear on your Clavinova won't be as crucial an issue) yet you'll still have it when you want to use headphones, record and playback, or use the extra sounds.

If you have enough space in your piano room, you could even put the instruments side by side. You'd be able to use the recording feature to play "duelling pianos" or, with one of the other sounds, provide a pre-recorded accompaniment to your acoustic piano performance!




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I have both. Top flight digitals are great at what they do.

However if you want to be a really good pianist you will need a good acoustic. You will not get this for digital money. I wish this were not true, but it still is.

Kind regards

Adrian



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Perhaps with the imminent release of the Yamaha AvantGrand and Roland V-Piano the lines are becoming more making the decision even more difficult. I'm awaiting an opportunity to audition both before I make a final decision on the replacement for our acoustic.

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Of course one obvious point that is that it needs to be a fairly decent acoustic. I had a teacher one time making a big stink because I was trying to get a customer to buy a Clavinova and she insisted they were better off with an acoustic. I might have agreed with her were it not for the fact that the piano she wanted them to get was a Winter & Co. spinet!


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You can get a a DP that is much better than a 10 year-old Clavinova for far less than $4000. Think of a very expensive computer bought 10 years ago. And yes, I'm another who would recommend a good DP over a lousy acoustic!

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I agree that it does rather depend on the quality of the acoustic! I have both, though, and find each to be invaluable. I sometimes play in venues which do not have a piano and therefore travel with my Roland RD-150, bought nine years ago, for those gigs, but when at home I play on an acoustic grand and would certainly prefer not to have to practise on the Roland....

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I would also vote for keeping your Clavinova and buying an acoustic. The trade in value of a 10 year old Clavinova will be very low so you might as well keep it. $4k should be enough for a good quality acoustic although I feel that your money will go further if you are prepared to go for second hand rather than brand new.


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By the way, I don't think that $4k would get anywhere near either the Roland V piano or the Yamaha AvantGrand.


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I thought I read that the Avangard was at least 20K. For that much money, you could buy a very nice grand shocked


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I have a digital- Kawai Ca 91, and a petrof acoustic. I use the digital for nighttime playing like you. What I like most about the digital is that I can record what I play. I then listen for mistakes and go back to correct them. It helps me tremendously with practice and improvement. Even though it is a digital, it is one of the best I have ever played- and I'm pretty picky!
Comparing an acoustic with the price of my Kawai, I found that most of the acoustics stayed in the range of undesirables, whereas the Digital felt better than a lot of the 4k clunkers. I've bought my way through clavinovas , thinking they felt great only to progress and outgrow it too quickly. This is why I have both the Petrof and the Kawai-ca91.
Good luck =)

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You definitely need an acoustic piano, however I would never even begin to look at a spinet of any kind. Your technical playing can only go up on an acoustic piano and if you need the digital for other things it only makes sense to keep it and get an acoustic as well, then you have the best of both worlds in that you can do more things as both are totally different.

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Kar, you mentioned that you didn't want to spend 4K on a new digital. What price range are you in for an acoustic?


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I played a Yamaha CVP 407 today, admittedly a VERY expensive digital piano, but its touch and response were better than a lot of the acoustic pianos at the store. What really got me was that when I played a Chopin Waltz, it actually responded to my 'emotional' touch, ie when I modified my playing in accordance with my mood, the damn thing seemed to feel it, just like a "real piano." I could get that keyboard for $5,000 to $6,000 which is what I paid for my 1927 Knabe. The Knabe had great potential, if I could have put $5,000 to $10,000 to fix it, but the Yamaha was good to go, plus it could record, transcribe what I was playing, transpose, and do a whole bunch of other stuff, more than I need really, but I'm just playing devil's advocate here. I think that digital pianos are getting perilously close to being able to mimic an acoustic...for all but the very advanced or professional classical musician...and for anyone who is interested in pop, jazz, or blues in addition to classical...well I've been convinced.

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