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#1375241 - 02/16/10 01:53 AM Do Yamaha actions wear out? What action am I missing?
pandamonium Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/10/09
Posts: 21
Do Yamaha key actions wear poorly? I was able to try out a P80, which has a GHE keybed. From my reading here, it should feel similar to a GH keybed. I wasn't really able to tell a significant difference between the GHE and my Casio PX-130. To be fair, I'm not comparing them side-by-side. I'm comparing how the P80 feels now to how I remember the PX130 feeling a few days ago. My impression is that the key return is a little slower on the PX130, but the P80 keys are noisier. I know that this particular P80 was bought new with one owner and had minimal use for the last 5 years though. Could heavier use in the first few years of ownership account for the currently noisier action?

I'm thinking that I am not experienced enough to tell the subtleties between key actions. But I can easily tell feel a difference vs acoustics. And the difference I feel is drastic. Is this normal? Does everyone here just "settle" for a DP because of the tuning/portability/silent operation at the expense of the feel? When I'm on an acoustic, I can feel the hammer "push" the key back up depending on how I release the key. I also feel a nice little vibrating twang as the hammer strikes the string. I know the N3 mimics the vibration but I don't know that the resisting "push" I feel is on DPs. So is there a name for this "push" I feel?

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#1375250 - 02/16/10 02:10 AM Re: Do Yamaha actions wear out? What action am I missing? [Re: pandamonium]
ChrisA Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/28/08
Posts: 3841
Loc: Redondo Beach, California
There seems to be two ways of looking at a digital Piano. Some think that it must exactly simulate an acoustic piano. Others think that it is an instrument it self and does not need to emulate anything. This second group thinks that the DP only need to have an expressive sound and key action and there is no need to simulate aspects of an acoustic piano that don't matter.

Roland makes a key action with simulated escapement. They use it onthe RD700GX and on the v-piano.



Edited by ChrisA (02/16/10 02:13 AM)

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#1375411 - 02/16/10 10:16 AM Re: Do Yamaha actions wear out? What action am I missing? [Re: ChrisA]
Cashley Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/16/09
Posts: 530
Originally Posted By: pandamonium


I'm thinking that I am not experienced enough to tell the subtleties between key actions. But I can easily tell feel a difference vs acoustics. And the difference I feel is drastic. Is this normal?


When you mention acoustics, are you referring to grand or upright ? In each case, which particular brand of acoustic did you base your comparison.

Quote:

Does everyone here just "settle" for a DP because of the tuning/portability/silent operation at the expense of the feel?


A lot of times, the 'feel' is a combination of both your sense of touch and sense of hearing. If you mute all the strings in your acoustic piano, you will find that the touch is a tiny different. If the strings are not in unison, you will also feel a little different with the touch.

Quote:

When I'm on an acoustic, I can feel the hammer "push" the key back up depending on how I release the key. I also feel a nice little vibrating twang as the hammer strikes the string. I know the N3 mimics the vibration but I don't know that the resisting "push" I feel is on DPs. So is there a name for this "push" I feel?


In the case of acoustic upright, the resistance is derived from, among other things, the pulling of the bridle tape and when the hammer butt is caught by the back check. The vibration is transferred to the wippen where it makes connection with the capstan screw that is mounted on your key. Since there is no actual hammer movement in your DP action, you will not be able to feel such a vibration. The lack of precision in the regulation of all the contact points can make the touch of an acoustic piano much worse than an ordinary DP.

I personally feel that it's all a matter of prejudice. If you had started off learning to play the piano with DP, and after years of familiarizing yourself with DPs, you may not like the feel of a real acoustic piano.


Edited by Cashley (02/16/10 10:17 AM)

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#1375419 - 02/16/10 10:28 AM Re: Do Yamaha actions wear out? What action am I missing? [Re: pandamonium]
jscomposer Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/27/08
Posts: 537
Loc: The Boogie Down
It's noisier because the felt that catches the "hammers" as they fall back is worn down. All the material is still there, but if you looked under the hood, you'd see 88 depressions in that felt strip.
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Joshua Seth plays Joshua Seth

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#1375455 - 02/16/10 11:13 AM Re: Do Yamaha actions wear out? What action am I missing? [Re: pandamonium]
Volusiano Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/01/10
Posts: 770
Originally Posted By: pandamonium
I know the N3 mimics the vibration but I don't know that the resisting "push" I feel is on DPs


The N3 has the real grand action so you would feel this "push" as well on the N3.

If you're talking about feeling a "push" after you strike a key but keep it down half-way or release it slow enough, that's probably the hammer head catching the backcheck on its half-way release point. This is part of the double escapement action.

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#1375564 - 02/16/10 01:17 PM Re: Do Yamaha actions wear out? What action am I missing? [Re: Volusiano]
pandamonium Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/10/09
Posts: 21
So the feeling I'm describing is escapement then? When I was reading here earlier, it seemed like a bunch of people felt the escapement was overdone on the Roland and nearly imperceptible on acoustics. (I was on an upright when I felt it.) I wish I were near a piano shop that had a wide selection available for me to sample.

I didn't realize I didn't explain this, but the push I felt was when I tapped a key but not hard enough for it to hit the strings. I was playing around with it because even pretty light touches resulted in much louder notes than I would have expected.

I think of a DP as an instrument for me to practice on until I can afford/accommodate a grand piano. I mainly want to make that future transition as smooth as possible. I'm dreaming, but I want a Disklavier that can toggle between string audio and modeled audio out.

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#1375607 - 02/16/10 01:53 PM Re: Do Yamaha actions wear out? What action am I missing? [Re: pandamonium]
Volusiano Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/01/10
Posts: 770
Yes, most likely the escapement in action, now that you clarified that you tapped the key not hard enough to hit the string. See this link and click the red link called "action in motion" in the first paragraph to pop an action window, then click on the "Play Note" button on the bottom left. You will hear the hammer head hit the string and see the "Release Halfway" position next where it comes to rest on the backcheck in the half way point. The act of the hammer head being caught by the backcheck transmits the feel back into the wippen part of the mechanism back to the key which causes you to feel that slight "push".

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#1375625 - 02/16/10 02:06 PM Re: Do Yamaha actions wear out? What action am I missing? [Re: pandamonium]
jscomposer Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/27/08
Posts: 537
Loc: The Boogie Down
I think the "push" you're trying to articulate has less to do with escapement, and more to do with the fact the piano keys are long, solid wood that pivot in the middle like a seesaw and throw hammers at the other end, while Yamaha digital piano keys are short, hollow plastic with springs that pivot at the end like a door and throw puny "hammers" underneath the keys. Feels great... until you try playing an acoustic and realize how badly it f***ed up your touch. wink
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Joshua Seth plays Joshua Seth

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#1375629 - 02/16/10 02:11 PM Re: Do Yamaha actions wear out? What action am I missing? [Re: pandamonium]
ChrisA Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/28/08
Posts: 3841
Loc: Redondo Beach, California
Originally Posted By: pandamonium

I think of a DP as an instrument for me to practice on until I can afford/accommodate a grand piano. I mainly want to make that future transition as smooth as possible.


The better DPs. Generally from the $1,200 price point and up have good enough key action that the difference between the DP action and the acoustic grand action is within the range of difference between various acoustic pianos.

Said another way: It takes some time (less then a minute ifyou are an expert) to adapt to any new acoustic when you are used to playing another acoustic. They are all different. Learning to adjust to each piano is part of learning to play piano. Beginners like myself need a very good and easy to play piano action but I've noticed the better pianists can play well even on old clunkers. I don't know how they do it. So moving between a good DP and a grand is no wose then moving between some acoustic pianos.

You will be fine with any Yamaha that has "GH" or better action or any Roland with PHA-II or better (not Alpha II) or any Kawai. All of these will do what you want but they are all different. These DPs are closer to a grand in terms of key action then are many upright acoustic pianos.

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#1375652 - 02/16/10 02:49 PM Re: Do Yamaha actions wear out? What action am I missing? [Re: jscomposer]
kstrong Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/30/09
Posts: 33
I have yet to play two acoustics that have the same feel to them, so I'm a bit loathe to believe any of the DPs with the higher-end graded hammer actions could [mess] up your touch when transferring to an acoustic. I spent much of my high school and college years bouncing back and forth between various acoustics and my completely unweighted boards with no ill effects on my playing. Personally, I found the actions on many DPs to be quite realistic; certainly within the realm of all the acoustics I've played over the years. A few felt particularly flimsy, but--as should surprise no one--those were on the bottom-tier boards from the bargain brands (Williams, etc.). I know some of the Casios I tried fell into this category, but I don't remember if if the PX130 was one of them.

The actions I liked best were Korg's RH3, Yamaha's GH3 (their GH was practically identical), and Roland, though I don't recall what that was--it was on a board well in excess of my budget. I'm trying to remember if the cutaway displays of the Korg and Yamaha actions had springs in them at all, or if they relied solely on counterbalances. Someone else may remember.

Bottom line, in my opinion you've nothing to worry about with Yamaha's action. Yes, you'll have to get the "feel" of the acoustic you're playing relative to the DP you're playing, but that's par for the course, and no different from playing a Steinway vs. a Yamaha vs. a Gulbransen acoustic.

Later,

K

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