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peterws Offline OP
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I`d be interested to find out who has. Classics, examinations, concerts, modern/jazz . . . Have you stayed wi the digital, or regressed to acoustic?


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Yes. Upgraded through different digitals too. Not looking for a piano but now considering an NU1 or CS9 further upgrade.

Learning via classical, mainly Bach for the hand independence, and pop for the rhythm and chords, but mostly interested in this last 100 yeaars minimalist (piano) music and some rock.

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Originally Posted by peterws
or regressed to acoustic?

Dude, really? smile


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I'm teaching myself classical piano on a digital. I might get an acoustic piano at some point, but I would still keep a digital too. Digitals have a lot of advantages - the biggest ones being portability and a volume control!


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I always have an acoustic piano of some kind in my 35 years of learning. But in the middle part, I was almost exclusively on digital piano due to its versatility such as playing through headphone at night. However, in recent years when I finally upgraded to a better grand piano (Bosendorfer), I finally realized how much nuance a upscale instrument can produce on jazz (or classical too). So I gradually come back to play the acoustic more. However, the digital piano trend is probably non-reversible. It still holds an important place in learning.


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Since buying my digital, I've often wondered how, and what I'd be playing now if I'd started learning piano exclusively on a DP - assuming that in my childhood, there were digitals of the same quality then as there are now.

I have to say that my conclusion is that - possibly unless I used one of the very few exceptional DPs available today - I wouldn't be playing at anything like the level I'm now playing, and if I played classical at all, it would only be of the fairly elementary type.

In other words, having played on most of the better DPs that have emerged in the last few years, I believe that very few current DPs allow the pianist to progress to much above Grade 5 ABRSM standard (which is when tonal & dynamic gradation, voicing of contrapuntal strands and chords as well as sheer digital facility become of paramount importance). But for beginners, high-end DPs are definitely better than many acoustic uprights of dubious provenance, at least for the first few years - and even indefinitely if pop music is the main interest.


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Originally Posted by bennevis
Since buying my digital, I've often wondered how, and what I'd be playing now if I'd started learning piano exclusively on a DP - assuming that in my childhood, there were digitals of the same quality then as there are now.

I have to say that my conclusion is that - possibly unless I used one of the very few exceptional DPs available today - I wouldn't be playing at anything like the level I'm now playing, and if I played classical at all, it would only be of the fairly elementary type.

In other words, having played on most of the better DPs that have emerged in the last few years, I believe that very few current DPs allow the pianist to progress to much above Grade 5 ABRSM standard (which is when tonal & dynamic gradation, voicing of contrapuntal strands and chords as well as sheer digital facility become of paramount importance). But for beginners, high-end DPs are definitely better than many acoustic uprights of dubious provenance, at least for the first few years - and even indefinitely if pop music is the main interest.



So given that there are an awful lot of mediocre acoustic pianos out there, how much would you say a player needs to spend (as a minimum) on an acoustic piano if they wished to reach grade 8 ABRSM?


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If bought new, probably around £6000 for an upright. I did my Grade 8 practising on Yamaha uprights. The important thing was that they were well-regulated and tuned regularly (I was at a boarding school then, which had a big emphasis on classical music, and therefore had practice rooms with the same model of Yamaha in each - one of the students went on to win the Tchaikovsky Competition, though he of course had access to a grand), and had decent action and a good range of tone. They had just two pedals, if I remember correctly.

But the little Yamaha that I learnt on at home (up to Grade 4) was far inferior, with over-light keyweight, keys prone to sticking (or not sounding) and having shallower travel than normal, and tone ranging from tinny to harsh. I don't think I would have been able to develop my tone and dynamic control to Grade 8 standard on that piano.


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I learned on an upright Heintzman which wasn't in the best of shape and not tuned frequently enough, but still went on to win my provincial music festival (Manitoba, Canada) at the grade 10 level. However it did help that my piano teacher had a 6-foot Yamaha, and I sometimes had opportunity to perform on a 9-foot.

Now I'm without a piano (still play on other's) but have 2 young boys who I'd like to teach, and am wondering as well whether to buy digital or acoustic. Digital would be nice to play when they are sleeping, but I also cringe at the thought of playing a 'fake' piano.

For my boys, learning the basics on a good quality digital is likely good enough, but I can't see anyone wanting to play at a 'serious' classical level being satisfied with a digital piano.

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I played on other's - many others' - pianos for decades (too many to mention in polite company grin) before finally biting the bullet and buying a DP and playing it using headphones, and never regretted it since. But I did choose carefully and bought the DP with the right technology for classical music, not one with bells & whistles.

To my mind, the biggest drawback for beginners learning on a DP is the latter's volume control, tempting them to control their sound and volume with a dial or lever rather than with their fingers. When I go around visiting piano (and DP) showrooms, it's often easy to distinguish from their playing those who learnt to play on acoustics from those who learnt to play on 'keyboards'.

I only changed the volume setting on my DP once since I bought it - when I switched to a better pair of headphones which has slightly higher impedance.


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
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peterws Offline OP
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I bought a Broadwood 7 foot grand from a church hall, restrung and tuned it myself with the necessary kit.It had a "direct action" keyboard (it was that old) and the soundboard cracked loudly during the night due to the lack of damp in the room; it was playable, sounded lovely but . . . . never again!
I sold it for what I paid for it. About £300 I think!

Couldn`t imagine anyone progressing far on that.


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I agree that the biggest problem with playing only a digital is the tendency to play harshly because the volume control is available to attenuate the sound, but I think pieces can be worked up on a good digital and polished to a more refined performance level by having occasional access to an acoustic.

For classical play, I highly recommend (because of price and performance) the Roland RD-700NX (studio grand setting through quality headphones). (The concert grand setting is okay, but gets harsh at forte in an unrealistic way, I think.)

I also think Pianoteq is useful (at least for Baroque and early classical) if you are familiar enough with an acoustic that you can set the velocity curve properly. Pianoteq rewards one's efforts to use subtle articulation and dynamics better than other digitals. I agree it doesn't sound the best among all DPs and software pianos on the market. But we're talking about practicing classical music, not performing it for an audience, nor recording it for posterity. Pianoteq also provides a graphical readout of your playing on a velocity curve. You can see visually how hard you're hitting a note, which can be useful in practice. It also has a very easy to use recorder and metronome. Again, excellent practice tools.

I don't recommend the Yamaha AG for classical because, aside from being as expensive as a decent new vertical (e.g., Perzina, Kawai) and MANY great used verticals, it doesn't have the tonal variety through the various velocities that the Roland has. Also, the keys don't pick up repeated notes in precisely the same way that an acoustic grand does. If you have pieces with fast difficult trills in them, try them on the AG and compare that to a good grand. The AG requires more exaggerated articulation to execute difficult trills than a typical acoustic grand. Or, at least, my AG does. Having said this, though, there are ways in which the AG action is superior to the Roland PHAIII, of course. Primarily, the Yamaha gets the mass/inertia right -- the key rebounds like an acoustic grand. The Roland feels like it springs back just a bit quicker, but with lighter return weight than a real acoustic. I've not attempted to measure this rigorously, however.


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