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Should I get a high end digital piano or a decent upright? (Read 3423 times)

Offline sloth_pianist

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Should I get a high end digital piano or a decent upright?
« on: February 14, 2019, 08:57:26 PM »
I am taking lessons and my piano teacher says I need to practice my dynamics. He showed me some excercises that I can do at home, but unfortunatly with my current digital piano, it is simply not possible. So i tested some nice digital pianos in a music shop, but I am wondering if I should get a upright. Problem is that I am a university student, and if I move away from my parents, I would not afford a space big enough for a upright. I am wondering if a digital piano is sufficient for learning.

Offline klavieronin

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Re: Should I get a high end digital piano or a decent upright?
«Reply #1 on: February 14, 2019, 10:21:35 PM »
A decent digital piano should be sufficient but make sure you get one with a realistic action.

Offline latrobe

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Re: Should I get a high end digital piano or a decent upright?
«Reply #2 on: February 20, 2019, 07:07:24 PM »
Finding a digital with a "decent action" can be difficult. I have a Clavinova CLP 820 which I bought cheaply for temperament research purposes and (almost) enjoy playing it. It's almost good, but really not like my real instruments.

I know a concert pianist who gives masterclasses who refuses to teach people practising on a digital piano - and considers that reason to take that stance is appropriate.

However, in his household he has a digital as well as a Steinway and a Bechstein.

Another concert pianist I know and her husband have not only a Steinway but a digital piano too.

There's something inexplicably tactile about the connexion between the movement of the finger, the key, the hammer and its connexion with the string and the sound that results.

So digital pianos aren't to be dismissed entirely nowadays but the real thing is more real . . .

Best wishes

David P
David Pinnegar BSc ARCS
Promoting keyboard heritage http://www.organmatters.co.uk and performers in Unequal Temperament http://www.hammerwood.mistral.co.uk/concerts.htm

Offline keys60

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Re: Should I get a high end digital piano or a decent upright?
«Reply #3 on: March 27, 2019, 06:00:47 PM »
I'm a fan of acoustic pianos. Key word, acoustics. Digital pianos, no matter how good, can not reverberate a cabinet. You can actually feel the percussion and vibrations of hammer and string.

A good digital is worthwhile too. No tuning, less maintainence, way cheaper than most acoustics in great shape. They're doing quite a bit with touch sensitivity these days. Overall, more economical in the long run. But there will always be that "something missing".

Offline pianoplunker

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Re: Should I get a high end digital piano or a decent upright?
«Reply #4 on: March 27, 2019, 10:09:43 PM »
I am taking lessons and my piano teacher says I need to practice my dynamics. He showed me some excercises that I can do at home, but unfortunatly with my current digital piano, it is simply not possible. So i tested some nice digital pianos in a music shop, but I am wondering if I should get a upright. Problem is that I am a university student, and if I move away from my parents, I would not afford a space big enough for a upright. I am wondering if a digital piano is sufficient for learning.

Some digital pianos are high-end and high-priced because of all the different sounds, effects, and features which you dont need just for practicing acoustic piano music.  I have tried a number of digitals in stores and there are some decent keys that can be had for less than $1000 usd .  I am not a salesman for Yamaha but the Pxx series is worth a look. The big advantage with digital for practicing is you can put on headphones so nobody has to listen to you practicing Hanon all night (not that you would do that, LOL). The disadvantage is in the pedaling compared to an acoustic and the range of dynamics of the instrument.  pp to ff  is not quite the same but you can still practice it on a digital as long as it has a good feel and touch sensitive.  Also there is a type of acoustic piano called a console piano which is smaller than an upright.

Offline thirtytwo2020

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Re: Should I get a high end digital piano or a decent upright?
«Reply #5 on: March 28, 2019, 12:40:14 PM »
I am wondering if a digital piano is sufficient for learning.

It seems that the keyword here is "sufficient".

Everyone here is a fan of acoustic pianos, but we are also agreed that the digital ones, while they will never be able to fully replace the real thing, can be "worthwhile" and "shouldn't be dismissed".

So, if your only option in terms of space is a digital one, go for it. Were you able to do your teacher's exercises in a meaningful way on the nice ones you tried in the music shop?

Offline keypeg

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Re: Should I get a high end digital piano or a decent upright?
«Reply #6 on: March 28, 2019, 03:38:52 PM »
An interesting thing about "reverberation" - When I got my Kawai CA97 (digital hybrid) I was wondering whether I was doing a silly self-indulgence and possibly falling for something gimicky with the piano-length spruce soundboard in the back.  It cost a pretty additional penny.  A few years in, I find myself playing minus headphones most of the time during the day, enjoying the sound coming from more than just speakers, and am still startled by the way some of the keys vibrate to my fingertips, especially when playing the bass.

Feeling piano action push back and yield against one's fingers: I missed that with my cheaper ordinary digital.  It does matter.  When first got my hybrid, my fingers were like a truck driver, not used to fine response.  With the cheaper digital I had to push the keys almost to the bottom and then let them rise to the top in order to get a sound, and had to change that habit - resensitize the fingers.

Just random spontaneous thoughts.

Offline sucom

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Re: Should I get a high end digital piano or a decent upright?
«Reply #7 on: March 30, 2019, 07:57:46 PM »
I would say that a high-end digital piano will be fine, especially as an acoustic may be difficult for you to house and you may not be able to play it at certain times or you may find you are having to repress your playing to avoid being too loud, which isn't a good thing at all.

There are many good digital pianos around now (they really have improved them to the point where you almost feel you are playing the real thing) - I suggest trying some out for yourself to see how happy you are with the touch, sound and dynamics.  When you find one you are comfortable with, go for it!

I play digital pianos all the time now as I suffer badly from tinnitus.  Playing an acoustic is almost painful to my ears now (I used to own a beautiful Steinway grand model B) but I find I can still get much enjoyment from playing one of my digital pianos, of which I have three.  I own a Kawai CS10, a Yamaha CVP 709 and a Kawai ES10 portable.  I have found that I am still able to play an acoustic without a problem.  Speaking as a sufferer of tinnitus, though, go easy on headphones!  They can cause a lot of damage!

Offline gbgfestival

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Re: Should I get a high end digital piano or a decent upright?
«Reply #8 on: April 02, 2019, 11:01:03 AM »
Have a look at this one.
I am very satisfied of a digital piano as well!


Offline perfect_pitch

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Re: Should I get a high end digital piano or a decent upright?
«Reply #9 on: April 02, 2019, 02:25:15 PM »
Have a look at this one.



Yep - this video sold me... Digital pianos suck, get a Decent upright.    ;D

Offline sucom

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Re: Should I get a high end digital piano or a decent upright?
«Reply #10 on: April 02, 2019, 03:21:59 PM »
Everyone is entitled to a view and of course you're entitled to yours.  Of course organic sound is going to be better than digitally produced sound but do digital pianos suck?  No, they don't suck.  They are part of the modern world, built to fit into a modern world where people live closer together in smaller spaces, in a world where acoustic pianos may cost a lot more than many people can afford. 

I always took it for granted when I was growing up that my family would allow me to play my piano whenever I wanted.  The reason I took it for granted is because my family never, ever complained that they were forced to sit in the kitchen night after night after night after night while I practised for some competition, or for some concert, or just because I wanted to play the piano until midnight, frequently.  It was only years later that it dawned on me just how much my family had sacrificed for me while I was learning.  My brother was a 'Door's fan, blasting out his music from his bedroom during his teens and yet we would find him coming down the stairs whistling parts of a Mozart piano concerto.  Why?  Because he was forced to listen to it while I was practising hour after hour, day in, day out, month in, month out.

As teachers, we might wonder why a student hasn't practised much. If there is an acoustic piano in the parents' lounge, when is the student going to be able to practise without disturbing his family?  Siblings may want to watch their TV programmes, Dad might want to watch ... I don't know ...... whatever he watches. A brother or sister might be learning another instrument.  I heard many times that a student hadn't practised because daughter was in the middle of studying for A levels and she didn't want to disturb her, or similar. 

Of course digital pianos don't compete with good quality acoustic pianos!  But digital pianos don't suck!  There is definitely a place for them in a modern world and I would say that the birth of the digital era has allowed many, many people to learn or experience the joys of piano playing; people who would not have otherwise had the opportunity.  Not everyone who learns the piano wishes to be a concert pianist playing on the best pianos available.  Some want to learn to experience the music flowing out, whatever their preference might be.

And as you can see from my previous post, I am now forced to enjoy something I have always loved more than life itself through a digital piano.  This means that I get to experience all those piano pieces I have always loved to play and learn new ones. To take that from me would be like taking my life away.  Thank God for digital pianos and their volume control, I would say, because my life wouldn't be worth living if I could no longer play.  So no, in my experience, digital pianos definitely don't suck!



Offline sucom

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Re: Should I get a high end digital piano or a decent upright?
«Reply #11 on: April 02, 2019, 07:26:15 PM »
Yep - this video sold me... Digital pianos suck, get a Decent upright.    ;D

This music (the video, Clair de Lune played on a Casio digital) never fails to delight.  How can anyone who aspires to learn the piano not feel motivated and inspired by that?  Even on a Casio which is not my own preferred make of digital piano.

Offline keypeg

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Re: Should I get a high end digital piano or a decent upright?
«Reply #12 on: April 03, 2019, 01:33:11 AM »
Yep - this video sold me... Digital pianos suck, get a Decent upright.   
The video as "information" on choices is severely lacking.  But this statement trumps it for being worse than uninformative.  And no, I would not trade my digital hybrid for an upright acoustic.

Offline perfect_pitch

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Re: Should I get a high end digital piano or a decent upright?
«Reply #13 on: April 03, 2019, 09:01:36 AM »
My comment came as a reply to your need to post in three threads that you have a Casio. Kind of screamed 'advertising' in my mind.

And although you make a good point about students trying to practice in piece without disturbing others, I to this day have not found a single Digital piano that feels even CLOSE to a piano. It's all about the strength and the organic relationship between pressing an actual wooden key and producing the sound without artificial mechanisms 'imitating' the sound of a piano.

Offline sucom

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Re: Should I get a high end digital piano or a decent upright?
«Reply #14 on: April 03, 2019, 09:58:49 AM »
My comment came as a reply to your need to post in three threads that you have a Casio. Kind of screamed 'advertising' in my mind.

And although you make a good point about students trying to practice in piece without disturbing others, I to this day have not found a single Digital piano that feels even CLOSE to a piano. It's all about the strength and the organic relationship between pressing an actual wooden key and producing the sound without artificial mechanisms 'imitating' the sound of a piano.

Hi Perfect pitch

I don't have a Casio and one of my pet hates is advertising.  Adverts all over the internet drive me insane.  No, I own two Kawais and one Yamaha.  Previously I had a beautiful Steinway grand and before that a Daneman grand.   I think the first piano I ever had was an upright Chappell but don't quote me on that.  It's too far back in my memory.

You're right, there is absolutely no competition when it comes to a beautiful acoustic grand piano, or even an upright, if it's a nice one.  There's something about the organic sound that comes from them that can't be manufactured, no matter how hard they try. And for a pianist, aiming to produce the most beautiful sound and control from a beautiful piano is heavenly.  It's like riding a stallion thoroughbred.  It's almost impossible, if not totally impossible, to reproduce.  But then again, I would love to live in a cottage overlooking the sea, with pink roses around the door and a garden filled with wild flowers.  That would be heavenly too.  The problem is, it ain't gonna happen any time soon, if ever. Life would be very unhappy for the person who was never quite happy with what he's got. You always have to make the best of what you have or what you can afford. 

I have my own views about the pianos I currently own.  I find the Kawai CS10 a little deep in the keys for my personal preference and the overall sound, which is pretty good, is a little tinny sounding for my ears.  And if I'm honest, the keys do have a slightly spongy feel to them, but it does have a wooden soundboard so there is real depth to the sound (it's a hybrid piano) and wooden keys and it definitely DOES feel like an acoustic piano.  For this reason, I rate it pretty well among digital pianos.  And it's a lovely looking instrument.

I also have a portable Kawai, an ES8 and although it doesn't feel exactly the same as an acoustic, it really is very nice to play.  Very nice, actually, and it was the cheapest of them all, surprisingly.  I did worry, for a short time, that I may find some difficulty playing the Kawai CS10 after spending time on it, but I didn't need to worry.  It was fine.  One thing I like about it being portable is that it is easier to place upstairs, in a room of my own at the back of the house, near my computer, which comes in very handy.

The other digital piano I own is the Yamaha CVP 709 - I bought this to replace a top quality Yamaha CLP and a Tyros keyboard - the CVP 709 combines the two in one - and it really does feel like an acoustic piano.  The sound doesn't match my Steinway but it certainly does have the control I'm looking for.  All acoustic pianos feel different, some are heavier, some are lighter....  I remember trying out the pianos in Steinway when my father was buying one for me, and they were all so different in their touch.  So, so different.  Is it possible that you have not found a digital piano which feels exactly like the piano you own yourself?  I ask this because I have no doubt in my mind that many digital pianos do indeed feel like acoustic pianos in their touch. 

One other thing worth taking into account is the player him or herself.  A very good player can make even the worst sounding piano sound good, to such a degree that you might question whether it was the same piano.

I think it's all down to personal choice at the end of the day, but I honestly do feel that there is definitely a place for digital pianos in today's world. 

Offline keypeg

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Re: Should I get a high end digital piano or a decent upright?
«Reply #15 on: April 06, 2019, 10:59:42 AM »
My comment came as a reply to your need to post in three threads that you have a Casio. Kind of screamed 'advertising' in my mind. 
Your reply came in a thread where a student is asking for advice, and other students may be reading the thread now and in the future, trying to get advice.

In that context, your total "advice" was.

Quote
Digital pianos suck, get a Decent upright. 

This is no advice at all.  Nor was it meant to be.  It was simply an emotional reaction to someone else and what you assume that person intended (advertising).  It won't be read that way.

Were I a new student today, first, I'd have no idea what "decent upright" means and how to find one.  If I did find and get one, my practising would be severely limited because of thin walls and neighbours.  Finally, I'd have the vague impression that there is something terrible about all digitals and think they're all the same.  That is what your "advice" brings.

Quote
And although you make a good point about students trying to practice in piece without disturbing others, I to this day have not found a single Digital piano that feels even CLOSE to a piano.
By my own experience, when I went back and forth between the store's grand pianos and the Kawai CA97 I found a similarity in that respect, between the two.  Additionally, it was much better than the mid-range/low Yamaha digital that I had up to then.  In fact, I had to relearn to play and did relearn to play thanks to the superior mechanism.  It was akin to going from driving a  clunky old truck to something that was responsive physically, and where you could feel things.  These are my subjective experiences.  Meanwhile, also, I experienced two uprights.  One was a never-maintained thing in the family home .... admittedly definitely not a "decent upright".  It might have been, had it been maintained - which brings us to still another reality: the cost and necessity of upkeep.  The other was an affordable brand new upright which nobody in the store could bring to below  a loud mf or slightly muted forte.

Your comment, if it is advice, seems extremely short sighted.

Offline timothy42b

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Re: Should I get a high end digital piano or a decent upright?
«Reply #16 on: April 06, 2019, 01:22:23 PM »


And although you make a good point about students trying to practice in piece without disturbing others, I to this day have not found a single Digital piano that feels even CLOSE to a piano. It's all about the strength and the organic relationship between pressing an actual wooden key and producing the sound without artificial mechanisms 'imitating' the sound of a piano.

I bolded part of your post because I think you've left out something.

What piano are you comparing the vast range of digitals to?  That's a critical oversight, because there isn't just one acoustic feel.  There is a larger range than there is for digitals, and most of them are worse.  Most acoustics that you run into are not that perfectly maintained and tuned Steinway grand; a lot of them are barely playable and some NOT playable. 

My older digital is not as good as the best acoustics I've played, but it's probably better than 2/3 of the ones I've run into. 
Tim