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#1227467 - 07/05/09 06:18 PM Best sound for rock/pop/jazz...
LVP Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/29/09
Posts: 289
Loc: Vermont
Hi all!

I am hunting for my first piano and have really liked the sound of pianos that I don't think are the first choice of jazz and pop artists (my favorite music, and that which I hope to play most). I am curious what you think about this. I have liked the Boston 126, Charles Walter 1500, a Petrof 125 (?) and have thought Kawai k3 would work ok too. I think these are all considered warmer, which I like, but I am concerned that they might not have the clarity I'll want eventually. I am looking to buy a piano that I don't deserve now as a total newbie, but that I won't want to sell for 5 or 10 years.

I love piano rock and jazz. Should I be looking for a Baldwin dealer? I don't like Yamaha (tooo bright for me, though I know Jazz pianists generally love them) but I am afraid that what sounds right to me now as a novice might NOT sound right after practicing 'Bennie and the Jets' for a year. crazy

I was a ballerina in my high school days, and my dad was a piano tuner, so I suspect that I have been listening to pianos that are suited to classical music for most of my life, which might lead me away from the perfect match for me now that I am a frustrated rocker smile . I am looking seriously at the Walter, so I could also hunt down nice Baldwin upright in this pricepoint, but haven't bothered since I thought my taste was leading me away from that. But I thought I would ask you all before I stop the hunt!

I would love to hear your thoughts! What do you play? Do you play jazz on a 'european' piano? Hope you don't mind me posting this here, the 'jazz on a Walter/Boston etc' question wasn't getting much action on my otherwise very helpful 'help me buy my first piano ' thread.

Thanks in advance!

Liza
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LVP
Charles Walter 1500
Korg SP-170s

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#1227502 - 07/05/09 08:15 PM Re: Best sound for rock/pop/jazz... [Re: LVP]
Gyro Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/24/05
Posts: 4533
You can play jazz and rock on any piano. If you've never
played a note before, there are some things you should be
aware of about acoustic pianos, that might not be apparent
when you're trying them in a showroom and being subjected
to a sales pitch. They weigh a ton. You'll
need movers just to get one into, or out of, your house.
(There's a harsh fact life with the piano: the dropout
rate is high. Try selling an item that the buyers
are going to need to hire movers just to get it home.)
They are loud, capable of being heard a block away.
If you live in an apt., condo, or townhouse, this
all but rules out an acoustic piano. Most new uprights
today have a silencing pedal that shifts a piece of
felt over the strings, but playing in that mode is
unsatisfying--and what's the point anyway of buying an
acoustic piano if you can't play it normally?
They need to be tuned at least twice yr., at ~$90-$150
per tuning. Repairs for sticking keys and buzzing
strings are common.

If you want to only play jazz/rock, that's going to complicate
matters, because almost all piano teachers are classical
teachers. There are a few non-classical teachers, but
they typically expect you to have taken some classical
piano, that is, they aren't going to be too keen on
teaching beginning piano to a student.

I would generally recommend that an adult student get
a digital piano. These offer many advantages
over an acoustic piano: volume control, light weight,
instant record and playback, durability and reliability,
freedom from tuning and maintenance. You'd need to spend
around $3000 to get a decent new upright, but $3000
will get you a digital that will play like a concert
grand and knock your socks off.


Edited by Gyro (07/05/09 08:19 PM)

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#1227507 - 07/05/09 08:36 PM Re: Best sound for rock/pop/jazz... [Re: Gyro]
LVP Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/29/09
Posts: 289
Loc: Vermont
Thank you for your thoughts! I must admit, I have ruled them out, due only to an affinity for things made of wood and things that feel 'real'. I sort of avoid plastic/electronics/metal in my life (with the exception of my laptop!) This by no means means to disparage the digital piano, I am just much more excited by the acoustics. Clearly though, it's the more practical choice! I just don't think it's for us.

We won't mind having a piano. We have a big old house and a musical family, so even if I quit (which is unlikely but possible! I am tenacious more than anything else) pretty much everyone else in our family plays and we often hire pianists for parties at other family members homes- which is a tradition we would like to continue at our house. Also, my husband is returning to playing, so it's not likely to become a dust catcher. I also have a teacher lined up who is fine with my lowbrow taste wink

So anyway, we are excited to get a piano, and my biggest fear is just that we will get one that isn't just right. The huge/ heavy/PITA to move and sell factor is just encouraging me to get something that will serve us well for a long time since I know getting rid of it and buying another would be painful. Any opinion on the acoustics uprights? Or perhaps you are a die hard digital aficionado?

Liza
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LVP
Charles Walter 1500
Korg SP-170s

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#1227511 - 07/05/09 08:42 PM Re: Best sound for rock/pop/jazz... [Re: Gyro]
Little_Blue_Engine Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/30/09
Posts: 1233
Loc: Ohio, US
Originally Posted By: Gyro
...there are some things you should be
aware of about acoustic pianos, that might not be apparent
when you're trying them in a showroom and being subjected
to a sales pitch. They weigh a ton. You'll
need movers just to get one into, or out of, your house.


Gyro, I'm sure you're trying to be helpful, but this comment is kind of insulting to the OP's intelligence. Have you ever honestly, truly met someone of average mental ability who thought they could toss an acoustic piano in the trunk of their car and drive home with it?
_________________________
I'll figure it out eventually.
Until then you may want to keep a safe distance.


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#1227528 - 07/05/09 09:14 PM Re: Best sound for rock/pop/jazz... [Re: LVP]
Little_Blue_Engine Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/30/09
Posts: 1233
Loc: Ohio, US
Originally Posted By: lvp


...I am afraid that what sounds right to me now as a novice might NOT sound right after practicing 'Bennie and the Jets' for a year. crazy


Well, this past May I enjoyed "Bennie..." played on a Yamaha, in the 80's he normally played it live on a Steinway and I'm not positive but I think the record was origionally recorded playing a Bosendorfer. Whatever you choose should work fine, the song appears to be quite flexible! thumb

Unfortuneately, I don't have enough experience playing pianos besides my own to really have any definate opinions about the different brands.
_________________________
I'll figure it out eventually.
Until then you may want to keep a safe distance.


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#1227534 - 07/05/09 09:29 PM Re: Best sound for rock/pop/jazz... [Re: Little_Blue_Engine]
Gyro Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/24/05
Posts: 4533
You can actually get playable uprights for free in
many areas. Thrift stores are also a good place
to shop, because they often get good used uprights
as donations and then sell them for a couple of hundred
dollars.

I have long experience with pianos, and I don't
see much difference between them. You can
learn piano literally on anything with keys.
For example, because the striking bars on a
xylophone are laid out the same as the keys on
a piano, a good xylophonist, who has never played
any instrument but the xylophone, can sit down
at the piano and play it without instruction.

I've had a top-quality acoustic upright piano in
storage for many years--a similar model today would
be in the ~$20,000 price range--but I play a
$600 digital piano, because it's more practical.
And frankly I think it's a better instrument overall.

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#1227545 - 07/05/09 10:01 PM Re: Best sound for rock/pop/jazz... [Re: Gyro]
LVP Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/29/09
Posts: 289
Loc: Vermont
Well, I see I was right about that you are an ardent fan! Gotta admit, it's not what we'll buy, though I agree that yours is the more logical choice. Having grown up with a piano tuner (who is no longer in my life, or I would ask him!) I do have a taste for the acoustic, which I can hear the differences in and which I am sure I will only continue to refine my appreciation of.

Glad to hear not all of us have to go through the trouble of loving these big beasts! Unfortunately, I think I'm stuck just plain loving acoustics.

So, what do you all play your Billy Joel on?
_________________________
LVP
Charles Walter 1500
Korg SP-170s

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#1227611 - 07/06/09 02:50 AM Re: Best sound for rock/pop/jazz... [Re: LVP]
Jazz+ Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/04
Posts: 838
Loc: Banned
Roland FP4 is ideal for jazz. PM me for the secret EQ that makes it really sound like the real thing. It can be had for $1100
_________________________
Roland FP-4 digital piano, Mason & Hamlin acoustic piano.

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#1227620 - 07/06/09 06:28 AM Re: Best sound for rock/pop/jazz... [Re: Jazz+]
dario77 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/21/09
Posts: 35
Classical wooden piano is irreplacabe. I have one laid (austrian franz oeser cca 1930) at my parents home (the first piano I ever played) and one upstraight (russian tschaikowski, cca 1965) at my appartment. I also have one Roland RP101 digital brand new.

And I play those classical pianos all the time. I bougt RP101 just in case I feel like playing at 2AM in the morning. Than I play with my earphones while everyone is sleeping, that is the only advantage of digital.

But the feel is completely on the classical piano. Irreplacable instrument.

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#1227622 - 07/06/09 06:31 AM Re: Best sound for rock/pop/jazz... [Re: dario77]
dario77 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/21/09
Posts: 35
besides, since you asked what is best piano for jazz sound. I dont know. But if you want a real blues feel, go for the oldest you can get. That 1930 Franz Oeser sounds really good when playing blues. Remember blues was invented on crap pianos. Pianos that were in humid and weren't properly maintained


Edited by dario77 (07/06/09 06:32 AM)

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#1227663 - 07/06/09 09:19 AM Re: Best sound for rock/pop/jazz... [Re: dario77]
jjo Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/09/08
Posts: 593
Loc: Chicago
My suggestions: Purchase what sounds and feels right to you now. Each of the pianos you have mentioned are good quality instruments. Sit and play them, and if they feel right and sound good to you, go for it. Other than getting a piano that is built well, touch and sound are very personal, and no one can really guide you. Just take your time and try lots of pianos, and then buy the one you feel is right in your gut. You'll probably feel that way years from now.

By the way, do not apologize for wanting an acoustic piano. I have played acoustic pianos all my life and recently had to get an electric for jazz gigs. To me, electric pianos don't have anything like the quality of sound you can get from an acoustic. As an example, I play in a jazz vocal class each week where I accompany vocalists on an electric keyboard. Then, when it comes times for the recitial, I get to play a real piano, and the vocalists always comment how much better I sound. An acoustic piano has a depth to its sound and nuances you simply can't get out of an electric keboard, in my opinion.

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#1227721 - 07/06/09 12:51 PM Re: Best sound for rock/pop/jazz... [Re: jjo]
LVP Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/29/09
Posts: 289
Loc: Vermont
The touch on the Walter was awesome, and the sound reminded me of something powerful. I feel like the Boston sounded better, but didn't affect me so viscerally, for whatever reason. I think we are honing in on the Walter!
_________________________
LVP
Charles Walter 1500
Korg SP-170s

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#1227784 - 07/06/09 03:16 PM Re: Best sound for rock/pop/jazz... [Re: LVP]
Gyro Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/24/05
Posts: 4533
lvp, I saw your other thread in the Acoustic Piano Forum,
and I find it amazing the thorough way you're conducting
your search, never having played a note on a piano. That
Walter upright is of course a fine piano, but for
the same price you could get the new Roland V Piano.
This is a concert grand that you can carry from
room to room. I suspect you're concerned that at
family gatherings the piano players might look
disapprovingly at a digital. On the contrary,
you'd be the envy of everyone with this.

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#1227834 - 07/06/09 05:42 PM Re: Best sound for rock/pop/jazz... [Re: Gyro]
LVP Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/29/09
Posts: 289
Loc: Vermont
You know Gyro, your likely to convince me to get both! laugh My family would be jealous (they are the 'early adopters') I just wouldn't be done buying pianos and would still want my Walter or Boston.

My dad took me to piano tunings when I was a little girl, and I think I developed a good piano ear and sense, even though I only fiddled around on them and never took lessons. It might also explain why having an acoustic is a easy choice for me! It's totally a visceral thing. Plus I have a research degree in historic preservation, so 'old fangled' things just draw me in. That explains my thoroughness....child of pianos + graduate research degree have made me very, very thorough. Perhaps to a fault! My piano teacher said he is excited that I am so interested in becoming a 'tone nerd'. Me too!
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LVP
Charles Walter 1500
Korg SP-170s

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#1227848 - 07/06/09 06:43 PM Re: Best sound for rock/pop/jazz... [Re: LVP]
Little_Blue_Engine Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/30/09
Posts: 1233
Loc: Ohio, US
Originally Posted By: lvp


My dad took me to piano tunings when I was a little girl, and I think I developed a good piano ear and sense, even though I only fiddled around on them and never took lessons. It might also explain why having an acoustic is a easy choice for me! It's totally a visceral thing. Plus I have a research degree in historic preservation, so 'old fangled' things just draw me in


I like the way I can feel each note and chord vibrate through my fingers on the keys, each key different. I enjoy the little "dips" that are worn in my keys from ever 100 years of being played. These are things no digital can reproduce. I don't think Gyro gets it...
_________________________
I'll figure it out eventually.
Until then you may want to keep a safe distance.


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#1228078 - 07/07/09 11:54 AM Re: Best sound for rock/pop/jazz... [Re: Little_Blue_Engine]
KlinkKlonk Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/19/09
Posts: 351

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#1228104 - 07/07/09 01:05 PM Re: Best sound for rock/pop/jazz... [Re: KlinkKlonk]
LVP Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/29/09
Posts: 289
Loc: Vermont
YESSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!

That's exactly my point smile What a thing of beauty! Where on earth did you find that?
_________________________
LVP
Charles Walter 1500
Korg SP-170s

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#1228130 - 07/07/09 01:57 PM Re: Best sound for rock/pop/jazz... [Re: LVP]
KlinkKlonk Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/19/09
Posts: 351
Steinways official site, legendary collection

Here's another hot one:


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#1228137 - 07/07/09 02:09 PM Re: Best sound for rock/pop/jazz... [Re: KlinkKlonk]
LVP Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/29/09
Posts: 289
Loc: Vermont
Speechless! Too cool. Looks like what they would play in the bar on the starship Enterprise.
_________________________
LVP
Charles Walter 1500
Korg SP-170s

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#1228171 - 07/07/09 03:18 PM Re: Best sound for rock/pop/jazz... [Re: LVP]
Gyro Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/24/05
Posts: 4533
lvp, from your other thread, I would be wary of a piano
that a teacher steers you to, especially if it is at
a dealer. They often get a commission on such sales.

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#1228173 - 07/07/09 03:25 PM Re: Best sound for rock/pop/jazz... [Re: Gyro]
LVP Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/29/09
Posts: 289
Loc: Vermont
Thanks, and noted! The good news is we are separated by a few hundred miles from the dealer, so I am less worried about that than I would usually be. Even more importantly, my teacher is also a very close friend, so there is a different relationship and a certain level of trust there for me. However, he does just love older pianos and the Steinway sound, so he does have bias, which I am trying to keep an awareness about- his taste is expensive! His first choice was that I actually by the CW, which is no where near us, so I am sure that he is not getting a kickback. But thank you for looking out for me!! It's nice to know you are all so on top of these types of things smile
_________________________
LVP
Charles Walter 1500
Korg SP-170s

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#1228579 - 07/08/09 01:53 PM Re: Best sound for rock/pop/jazz... [Re: LVP]
LVP Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/29/09
Posts: 289
Loc: Vermont
So, this quickly devolved into something of an acoustic vs. digital debate, but I am still curious what acoustic pianos the rest of you rock/pop/jazz players love best! I sort of thought this might become a baldwin vs. yamaha thread- go figure! Anyhow, would love to hear your thoughts on my original question~!

(and thanks to those of you who shared their favorites with me already)

Thanks!
_________________________
LVP
Charles Walter 1500
Korg SP-170s

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#1228593 - 07/08/09 02:26 PM Re: Best sound for rock/pop/jazz... [Re: LVP]
Gyro Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/24/05
Posts: 4533
Jazz players play all kinds of pianos. Often they simply
get the best piano available, that is, a big grand, since
any music will sound great on that. And there's a
kind of image factor in this. A Yamaha looks right
at home in a cocktail lounge, while a Bosendorfer, Pleyel,
Sauter, or Schimmel would raise eyebrows there.
But non-conformity has always been the image in jazz,
and so someone might deliberately go against the grain
and play a Bosendorfer, and his jazz or rock would sound
great on it.

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#1228609 - 07/08/09 03:17 PM Re: Best sound for rock/pop/jazz... [Re: LVP]
rocket88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/06
Posts: 3158
Originally Posted By: lvp
So, this quickly devolved into something of an acoustic vs. digital debate, but I am still curious what acoustic pianos the rest of you rock/pop/jazz players love best! I sort of thought this might become a baldwin vs. yamaha thread- go figure! Anyhow, would love to hear your thoughts on my original question~!

(and thanks to those of you who shared their favorites with me already)

Thanks!


Acoustic pianos all sound and play differently, because they are primarily made of wood, and no two pieces of wood are the same. And, the preparation of the piano is very important.

That is why you can play 10 Steinways, or 10 Yamahas, or 10 any brand you choose, of identical models, and they will all play and sound slightly (or more than slightly) different from each.

So my answer to your question is:

"I prefer a properly tuned grand that, for whatever combination of factors is a joy to play and hear, that "pulls" music out of me as I play, rather then me having to "push" it along to play."

I have seen few pianos like that, and there is no specific brand, although they are all upper-level pianos. (And none were either Baldwin or Yamaha! Go figure.)

ps...The music on my website was all done on a digital, a Roland Rd700SX. I wish I could have some on an acoustic, but I cannot lug around a 700 pound piano to gigs.


Edited by rocket88 (07/08/09 03:23 PM)
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#1228684 - 07/08/09 06:45 PM Re: Best sound for rock/pop/jazz... [Re: rocket88]
KlinkKlonk Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/19/09
Posts: 351
No jazz musicians can afford a grand piano or a concert upright so the question is moot. smile

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#1228688 - 07/08/09 06:56 PM Re: Best sound for rock/pop/jazz... [Re: KlinkKlonk]
pno Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/27/05
Posts: 1042
Loc: ♪oron♪o, on♪ario, canada...
Then play pop. It makes a lot more $$ than classical!
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#1229636 - 07/10/09 04:11 PM Re: Best sound for rock/pop/jazz... [Re: pno]
carpediem Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/09/07
Posts: 65
Loc: Midwest
In your original question you asked if any jazz players play on "European" pianos. I don't claim to be a jazz pianist (yet wink
but I have an interesting story from my own piano search.
I was very fortunate find my piano in a recording studio that was closing down. The owner did sound for concerts, and one of his most memorable shows was with Count Basie, playing a Bluthner. He vowed to buy a Bluthner for his own studio should he ever open one. Well, he opened the studio, bought the Bluthner, and that is the piano now in my house. Cool, huh?
good luck, and enjoy the search!

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#1229647 - 07/10/09 04:23 PM Re: Best sound for rock/pop/jazz... [Re: carpediem]
LVP Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/29/09
Posts: 289
Loc: Vermont
Carpediem---
Very cool story! Now let me just set aside my jealousy for a second! I would love to have heard that piano rocking out in person. What a neat story to accompany your piano...

I am starting to think that anything that sounds good to me will sound good no matter what I am playing...We'll see. As Larry Fine said to me this morning, 'This doesn't have to be the last piano you buy'. I am thinking I am going with a Charles Walter W1500. If I ever turn into a real jazz pianists and don't prefer it, I'll likely be due for an upgrade anyhow! I am sure I am now well armed for scales and rousing renditions of Good King Wenceslas wink

Thanks for sharing. I am loving sopping up all these stories and knowledge!


Edited by lvp (07/10/09 04:24 PM)
_________________________
LVP
Charles Walter 1500
Korg SP-170s

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#1229673 - 07/10/09 04:54 PM Re: Best sound for rock/pop/jazz... [Re: LVP]
Gyro Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/24/05
Posts: 4533
lvp, you should at least try out some digitals. I realize
there are people who simply will not go near
a digital for fear that it will ruin them forever
for playing the piano, but we are now 20 yrs. into
the Digital Piano Age, and even big-time jazz players
and concert pianists use digitals. For the same
price as the Walter you could get a monster of
a digital piano like the Yamaha CLP-380 or the Roland
V Piano, instruments with mindboggling performance.

This thing about tuning can become a real issue
with pianos. At least twice a yr., you're going
to have to allow a stranger into your home to
pound on your piano for several hrs., sometimes
with less than satisfactory results. This is why you
see so many ads for used pianos that say
"piano for sale, in good condition but hasn't
been tuned in years." The person got tired of
tuning it and let the piano go out of
tune to the point where it was no longer playable.

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#1229720 - 07/10/09 06:44 PM Re: Best sound for rock/pop/jazz... [Re: Gyro]
LVP Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/29/09
Posts: 289
Loc: Vermont
Here's another way to look at it: Twice a year, a woman who you really enjoy- and rarely get to see- will come and do something meaningful and important to support your instrument and passion! You will get support the local economy and forge another connection with your local community of musicians and piano professionals. Living in a rural place, these are not dreaded responsibilities, but small social opportunities. And I am not exaggerating, I know and enjoy my future tuner, and am glad to be able to give her more work!

I am afraid that we simply have different priorities and perspectives. I am glad that a practical choice works for you, but it won't satisfy me. Please do enjoy your choice, but realize that about 40,000 of us reading these threads love pianos for an entirely different set of reasons that have to do with gut feeling, association and tactile response. It's not better or worse (though it may be impractical, as you've pointed out), it's just different. For many people, passion about pianos makes all of their inconvenience trivial. I know I feel that way. If I applied your logic to my life, I wouldn't own a home, or dogs, or be married! Much of the things that bring us joy in life cost us money, time, or convenience. But, when you really love something, you just don't notice, or you plain don't care.

Might I find my piano a hassle on day? Sure. But if that happens I'll cross that bridge then. When you spend your life around an instrument that you can't have, that you love, and you FINALLY have the means to attain, a slight variation on that theme just won't do. It won't inspire or satisfy. I wish I felt differently, but I can honestly say that I don't.

Thanks for trying to save me time, money and aggravation, but I think we need to agree to disagree. Some things just defy logic, and that's ok. Everyone has to really find what's right for them, and I think you and I have each found our perfect fit, I just think that they are very different! You are clearly very pragmatic and are clear about your needs and priorities. While I am glad that you feel passionate about your choice, I think you underestimate the importance of feeling and emotion that can be linked to a physical object. Sound cheesy, hokey or sentimental to you? If so, that would explain our main difference. These things are core to how I experience and find pleasure in the world. I am in good company, as are you with your choice. We are both right based on our own priorities. And, it would be near impossible for us to convince the other, since we are coming from fundamentally different places. Perhaps we can agree on that.

Hope you are getting sunshine wherever you all are!
_________________________
LVP
Charles Walter 1500
Korg SP-170s

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#1229733 - 07/10/09 07:12 PM Re: Best sound for rock/pop/jazz... [Re: LVP]
LVP Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/29/09
Posts: 289
Loc: Vermont
In all fairness, I should add that I did first look at digitals (my pocketbook loves the idea!)
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LVP
Charles Walter 1500
Korg SP-170s

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#1230022 - 07/11/09 12:20 PM Re: Best sound for rock/pop/jazz... [Re: LVP]
Gyro Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/24/05
Posts: 4533
lvp, another thing about acoustic pianos. Even not
being a player, you must have noticed the high dropout
rate: kids take lessons for a few yrs., or even a few
months, and quit; your husband quit playing; etc.
Ever wonder why? It's the sound. Even an upright can
be heard a block away. If you live in an apt. building,
you'll drive the neighbors nuts. If you live
in a single family house, you can drive the people
in the house nuts. If you have a separate piano
room, you can drive yourself nuts.

This why silent keyboards were introduced in the late
1890's (a silent keyboard is like a digital piano
with the power turned off). It allows a pianist to
play anytime and anywhere and not disturb people, but
more importantly, it allows a pianist to save his ears
and nerves. Claudio Arrau used one all his life.

I have very good hearing and can hear a car's tires
on the pavement a mile away at night. But rather
than being an advantage for me as a player, it
has alway been a tremendous handicap. I grew up
with lessons and acoustic pianos, and I got nowhere
with playing. The cacophony from an acoustic piano
would grate on my nerves and quickly produce fatigue.
Digitals have literally been my salvation as a player.
I can turn the volume down and play much longer and
more effectively. Sometimes I forget and turn the
vol. up too much, and then I wonder why I don't want to play
the next day. I suspect that you might have not
taken lessons as a child because you simply could not
stand the sound of an acoustic, which bodes ill for
your future on an acoustic piano.


Edited by Gyro (07/11/09 12:23 PM)

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#1236603 - 07/24/09 02:35 PM Re: Best sound for rock/pop/jazz... [Re: LVP]
wruess Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/09/07
Posts: 120
Loc: Northern California, USA
Ivp -

My 'european' piano is a Sauter Omega. I have been a rock/pop/(pseudo) jazz player for over 40 years, but also play classical. The Sauter shines in both areas (because it's a phenomenal instrument). I would rather play a 'real' piano any day, even just a decent upright. (I seldom fire up the Kurzweil PC3x unless I'm doing recording or live performance). I strongly applaud your desire to get 'piano made of wood and 'real' things'. Despite all the new technology, there is still no digital piano that feels and plays like one of those old wooden things.

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#1237336 - 07/25/09 08:24 PM Re: Best sound for rock/pop/jazz... [Re: LVP]
Nikalette Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/22/08
Posts: 1074
Loc: California
I had a bad experience buying a piano which I shared here, but I'll summarize it, because it is pertinent. I had an old Wurlitzer studio upright which was serviceable. I had fooled around with piano, but not done much, then decided to work on classical piano for real and took about 2 years at the local college. I rewarded myself when I got up to about grade 6 with a 1927 Knabe grand, which after much heartache, I was able to return to the seller by a court order and get my money back. Being soured on my experience with the piano technicians I ran into (the seller was one), I decided to get a digital. I had already given away my old upright. I got a YPG 635 which is really nice, I think, and has all the fun extra voices and educational stuff, along with a pretty nice piano sound and a touch I like.

Anyway, to make a long story short, I've joined an online jazz piano program and am working on jazz/blues, and I find the digital keyboard to be much better for it than the acoustics. I won't say I like playing classical piano on it as well, because I don't, but otherwise, I'm happier with it than with my old upright and the grand I had problems with.

Just my 2 cents worth. I'd like to have a really nice grand piano, but I'd still want my digital for jazz/blues/rock. It's fun to practice blues scales and ii/V/I progressions and such on all the different voices, with an accompaniment track.

And it only set me back $739, including a free bench, no tax, and free shipping, with headphones, midi capability, 3 or 4 instructional DVDs and CD/Roms which included a very extensive music songbook.

The ability to use different sounds for different music is so much fun. I'm actually quite happy with my little digital piano, the only regret I have is that there are some new Casio Privias coming out, and although I love my Yamaha, it's not nearly as portable as some other models.

With the $4800 I saved after returning my Grand, I can afford a 2nd DP! And I'm getting a Mac as well.

Anyway, whatever you decide have fun!

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#1237339 - 07/25/09 08:30 PM Re: Best sound for rock/pop/jazz... [Re: Gyro]
Nikalette Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/22/08
Posts: 1074
Loc: California
Originally Posted By: Gyro
lvp, another thing about acoustic pianos. Even not
being a player, you must have noticed the high dropout
rate: kids take lessons for a few yrs., or even a few
months, and quit; your husband quit playing; etc.
Ever wonder why? It's the sound. Even an upright can
be heard a block away. If you live in an apt. building,
you'll drive the neighbors nuts. If you live
in a single family house, you can drive the people
in the house nuts. If you have a separate piano
room, you can drive yourself nuts.

This why silent keyboards were introduced in the late
1890's (a silent keyboard is like a digital piano
with the power turned off). It allows a pianist to
play anytime and anywhere and not disturb people, but
more importantly, it allows a pianist to save his ears
and nerves. Claudio Arrau used one all his life.

I have very good hearing and can hear a car's tires
on the pavement a mile away at night. But rather
than being an advantage for me as a player, it
has alway been a tremendous handicap. I grew up
with lessons and acoustic pianos, and I got nowhere
with playing. The cacophony from an acoustic piano
would grate on my nerves and quickly produce fatigue.
Digitals have literally been my salvation as a player.
I can turn the volume down and play much longer and
more effectively. Sometimes I forget and turn the
vol. up too much, and then I wonder why I don't want to play
the next day. I suspect that you might have not
taken lessons as a child because you simply could not
stand the sound of an acoustic, which bodes ill for
your future on an acoustic piano.


Gyro I find myself agreeing with you. I too am a highly auditory person and when I stopped by the practice room at the college to play on the Steinway upright grand, I couldn't take the loudness of it, after my digital piano, not to mention how horrible out of tune it seemed to me (since the digital pianos are in tune).

Even the touch wasn't agreeable. I will say however that for me the think lacking in the digital piano is the touch. Mine is weighted and graded and has a nice response, but a "good" acoustic has the edge there. A bad acoustic is worse tho'. AND the Roland V piano had a touch that was really glorious to me, as nice as any acoustic I've played, including the Steinway grand in our classroom.

For me, the digital keyboard almost hurts my fingers, and I don't know why. I have to remind myself to play softer, perhaps it is because the YPG has a very quiet sound even at full blast. I think i'll need to buy some external speakers.

I don't think silent keyboards are needed in this day and age of headphones and DPS tho'.

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#1237342 - 07/25/09 08:32 PM Re: Best sound for rock/pop/jazz... [Re: LVP]
Nikalette Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/22/08
Posts: 1074
Loc: California
Originally Posted By: lvp
So, this quickly devolved into something of an acoustic vs. digital debate, but I am still curious what acoustic pianos the rest of you rock/pop/jazz players love best! I sort of thought this might become a baldwin vs. yamaha thread- go figure! Anyhow, would love to hear your thoughts on my original question~!

(and thanks to those of you who shared their favorites with me already)

Thanks!


Okay, I'll jump off the digital bandwagon. I don't really like the brightness of Yamahas or Baldwins. I think my vintage Knabe had a beautiful sound, despite all of its neglect and decay. It had a sweet warm singing tone.

When I was shopping for my grand, I played a Yamaha side by side with a Kawai K8. I do like the Kawai sound and touch...if properly regulated I think it's very nice. Altho' the seller felt that Yamaha was better for jazz.

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#1237343 - 07/25/09 08:34 PM Re: Best sound for rock/pop/jazz... [Re: Nikalette]
Nikalette Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/22/08
Posts: 1074
Loc: California
Originally Posted By: Nikalette
[quote=lvp]So, this quickly devolved into something of an acoustic vs. digital debate, but I am still curious what acoustic pianos the rest of you rock/pop/jazz players love best! I sort of thought this might become a baldwin vs. yamaha thread- go figure! Anyhow, would love to hear your thoughts on my original question~!

(and thanks to those of you who shared their favorites with me already)

Thanks!



Don't you think that a lot of pop/rock/jazz folks play digitals? Just because there are a lot more working musicians in those fields...few make a living playing classical. And carting around an acoustic piano, or having one available for a gig might not be a realistic plan.

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#1237831 - 07/26/09 08:59 PM Re: Best sound for rock/pop/jazz... [Re: Nikalette]
LVP Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/29/09
Posts: 289
Loc: Vermont
Interesting turn this has taken. I think it is true that a lot of these folks play digitals, though I did have a slight revelation at a recent Billy Joel/Elton John concert. Of course there were DP's there doing all the cool stuff that they can do, and then of course two grands: one Steinway and one Yamaha. That mostly reinforced for me my distaste for Yamahas but ALSO my commitment to an acoustic for this phase of the piano journey. I bet we'll end up with a digital at some point, but it's not what get's me hot and bothered sound wise. I did try some of the 'silent' pianos but totally cringed at the sound coming through the headphones (methinks the digital pianos must sound better than these through headphones or you wouldn't all love them so!) I don't know, I am a person who can hear the lights humming when no one else can, and I just hate electricity running everything. Makes me tense. I think that is my main problem with them. The low level hum puts me on edge, probably like the volume of an acoustic bothers Nikalette and Gyro. It interesting how different this all is for everyone!

Liza
_________________________
LVP
Charles Walter 1500
Korg SP-170s

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#1237894 - 07/26/09 11:05 PM Re: Best sound for rock/pop/jazz... [Re: LVP]
Gyro Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/24/05
Posts: 4533
lvp, if the hum of fluorescent lights bothers you, that's
not a good sign for a piano player, in my opinion.
With that kind of hearing, an acoustic piano is likely to
drive you up the wall.

Furthermore, that Walter is a fine instrument, but
what distinguishes it from other pianos? It's
essentially just another upright. For the same
price you could get a Roland V Piano and have people
coming from miles around just to take a look at it.

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#1238059 - 07/27/09 10:10 AM Re: Best sound for rock/pop/jazz... [Re: Gyro]
LVP Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/29/09
Posts: 289
Loc: Vermont
Gyro,
I'm sure it's not a problem. With years of dancing and singing under my belt at a fairly high level, I am used to having a piano in front of me for hours at a time, pretty much every day. It really is about electronic gadgets; I don't like them! But I have never had a problem with a piano in my face; that is part of what actually helped reinforce my desire to play.

What distinguishes the Walter is that is makes me smile every time I hear it. It has that ineffable quality. Whatever is the 'right' sound of a piano 'inside my head' comes through in the Walter sound.

I am curious why you don't believe that:

1. People might be different than you, or have different experiences

and that

2. People might know themselves better than you can manage over a limited amount of internet interaction?

I appreciated your comments, and having shopped digitals, have realized that I don't really want one. Why is that so unbelievable? I know they are too loud for you, but I happily sang in a punk/alt rock cover band. I don't really mind loud noise, but I don't love electronic instruments, which is why I am making my choice. Do you really believe that no one is capable of really enjoying acoustic piano? I don't believe it for a second, and I find your insistence that I don't know my own mind sort of insulting.


Edited by lvp (07/27/09 10:10 AM)
_________________________
LVP
Charles Walter 1500
Korg SP-170s

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#1238100 - 07/27/09 11:23 AM Re: Best sound for rock/pop/jazz... [Re: Gyro]
Little_Blue_Engine Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/30/09
Posts: 1233
Loc: Ohio, US
Originally Posted By: Gyro
lvp, if the hum of fluorescent lights bothers you, that's
not a good sign for a piano player, in my opinion.
With that kind of hearing, an acoustic piano is likely to
drive you up the wall.

Furthermore, that Walter is a fine instrument, but
what distinguishes it from other pianos? It's
essentially just another upright. For the same
price you could get a Roland V Piano and have people
coming from miles around just to take a look at it.


Ivp, Resistance is futile, you will be assimilated!
grin laugh grin laugh grin ha
_________________________
I'll figure it out eventually.
Until then you may want to keep a safe distance.


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#1238107 - 07/27/09 11:42 AM Re: Best sound for rock/pop/jazz... [Re: LVP]
Little_Blue_Engine Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/30/09
Posts: 1233
Loc: Ohio, US
The "Elton's Yamaha vs. Billy's Steinway" thing always ends up in a tie for me. I love the higher tenor and treble on the Steinway, this area does occasionally sound "harsh" on Elton's piano but since I've started paying attention to the differences in pianos (although not usually live in person)I've noticed that the bass in the Yamaha seems to have a "crispness" to it that I kind of like. Paul McCartney playing "Lady Madonna" on a Yamaha in a concert special I watched had an excellent sound to it. Obviously a recording doesn't tell all, but I've started to notice these things.
_________________________
I'll figure it out eventually.
Until then you may want to keep a safe distance.


Top
#1238296 - 07/27/09 04:10 PM Re: Best sound for rock/pop/jazz... [Re: Little_Blue_Engine]
LVP Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/29/09
Posts: 289
Loc: Vermont
Originally Posted By: Little_Blue_Engine
T Paul McCartney playing "Lady Madonna" on a Yamaha in a concert special I watched had an excellent sound to it. Obviously a recording doesn't tell all, but I've started to notice these things.


Wow, Paul plays a Yamaha? Interesting, I wouldn't have thought. I have to say, I have heard Yamaha's sound great, but I swear Elton's is tuned to be extra bright!
_________________________
LVP
Charles Walter 1500
Korg SP-170s

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#1240323 - 07/30/09 12:44 PM Re: Best sound for rock/pop/jazz... [Re: LVP]
Gyro Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/24/05
Posts: 4533
lvp, you just need to take a look at the thousands upon
thousands of acoustic pianos for sale online and
elsewhere. This is not a case of people trying to
sell their piano so they can buy a better one; they'd
simply trade it in if they were doing that. This
is people getting rid of an item that they bought
with great initial enthusiasm and which now has become a
very heavy piece of unusable furniture.

When you buy an acoustic piano, you need to go in
with your eyes wide open, not leading with your heart,
which is what you're doing. And in order to go
in with your eyes open, you need considerable experience with
the instrument, which you simply don't have, not
having played before. When you go in with great
enthusiasm, leading with your heart, that's the
perfect way to end up with an unplayed piece of
furniture, because the piano can quickly bring
you down to earth when you try to actually play it.


This is why I strongly advise a digital
piano over an acoustic. If you haven't signed for
the Walter yet, I'd suggest you hold off until you
extensively tried out the many impressive digital
pianos available, that are just as good as an
acoustic.

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#1240337 - 07/30/09 12:59 PM Re: Best sound for rock/pop/jazz... [Re: Gyro]
sotto voce Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/15/06
Posts: 6163
Loc: Briarcliff Manor, NY, USA
Originally Posted By: Gyro
lvp, you just need to take a look at the thousands upon
thousands of acoustic pianos for sale online and
elsewhere. This is not a case of people trying to
sell their piano so they can buy a better one; they'd
simply trade it in if they were doing that. This
is people getting rid of an item that they bought
with great initial enthusiasm and which now has become a
very heavy piece of unusable furniture....

I'm sure there are thousands upon thousands of disused digitals, too, that were bought with great enthusiasm and now reside upended in garages. If you don't see them advertised in droves, it's probably because they don't take too much room that way and relatively little was expended on them in the first place.

"Unusable" isn't quite the right word for an acoustic piano in which one is no longer interested. Something unusable would likely go straight to the dump instead of being advertised for sale.

Steven
_________________________

"There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats."
—Albert Schweitzer

Chopin: Allegro de Concert Op. 46
Schumann: Toccata Op. 7
Fauré: Ballade Op. 19

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#1240590 - 07/30/09 09:26 PM Re: Best sound for rock/pop/jazz... [Re: Gyro]
Little_Blue_Engine Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/30/09
Posts: 1233
Loc: Ohio, US
Originally Posted By: Gyro


When you buy an acoustic piano, you need to go in
with your eyes wide open, not leading with your heart,
which is what you're doing.


lvp has invested more time and effort into researching and considering all the options before this piano purchase than many people do before they buy a car or even a house. I think the chances of a major disappointment here are relatively low.
_________________________
I'll figure it out eventually.
Until then you may want to keep a safe distance.


Top
#1240685 - 07/30/09 11:38 PM Re: Best sound for rock/pop/jazz... [Re: Gyro]
LVP Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/29/09
Posts: 289
Loc: Vermont
Originally Posted By: Gyro

When you buy an acoustic piano, you need to go in
with your eyes wide open, not leading with your heart,
which is what you're doing. And in order to go
in with your eyes open, you need considerable experience with
the instrument, which you simply don't have, not
having played before.




So...to get enough experience with acoustic pianos to justify buying one....I should start by buying something else??? That doesn't make a lot of sense to me. If I want to play an acoustic for the dozens of reasons I have expressed, then how is starting on a DP with none of the sensitivities or quirks of an acoustic really helping?

And really, if I was so irrational and emotional about my piano purchase, wouldn't I have bought the $8k Boston that I adored on my first buying excursion? Wouldn't that have been the more emotional route, as opposed to putting thousand of miles on my car to visit shops and reading hundreds of pages about different models and brands to be sure that my piano would bring joy to myself, my family, and my circle of musical and theatrical friends?

Some things people know and get right without any good reason. How does anyone 'know' that having children is 'right'? Totally inconvenient, sure, but that doesn't stop them from being an absolute joy for millions of people!

I say that music and art are the same; our desire to be involved with them are not based on the rational. My desire to play is wrapped up in a relationship with the physicality of the sound and the tactile relationship between player and piano. For sure, piano playing is not for the timid, or those who hate loud noises! You said you hated this, it was overwhelming for you. I could have the same experience; if I do, I have chosen a great piano with great resale value and I will move on... but I am not worried. However, I do know that the death of my passion would be to buy something that I just plain don't like.

Oh, never mind, you think we're all nuts to like something that doesn't suit you, and that's fine by me. I don't believe for a minute that I am too ill informed to make this decision. Live how you like, and I'll continue to trust my instincts. Please don't insult my intelligence or ability to reason simply because it doesn't jive with your personal experience. Maybe there is 'heart' in my decision, but that doesn't make the decision wholly uninformed or irrational.

BTW, to those of you still interested in the original question, my husband and I feel like the Walters with brighter voicing have the perfect tonal balance for the music we love the most. I look forward to sharing some samples with you all in the coming months and thinking more about the acoustic pianos that our popular musicians play; I think this is just as interesting as the choices the classical folks make!
_________________________
LVP
Charles Walter 1500
Korg SP-170s

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