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#1410687 - 04/04/10 01:22 PM Yamaha AvantGrand N2 vs. similar priced Yamaha upright?
Karnevil Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/17/06
Posts: 154
Hi!

What are you thoughts on the playability/key action, sound, note-seperation/clarity, detail/nuances concerning the AvantGrand N2, and a similar priced Yamaha upright, acoustic piano?

Piano will be used for both classical stuff and jazz.

Thanks! smile

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#1410691 - 04/04/10 01:31 PM Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N2 vs. similar priced Yamaha upright? [Re: Karnevil]
ChrisA Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/28/08
Posts: 3841
Loc: Redondo Beach, California
For playing live or for recording?

No matter how good the DP, what you hear still comes from speakers. No way around that. But if you are talking about recording then both are heard through speakers and the acoustic piano looses it's advantage.

That said, I don't plan any live performances in my house and an upright can't work headphones. For me an acoustic piano is totally unpractical.


Edited by ChrisA (04/04/10 04:18 PM)

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#1410696 - 04/04/10 01:43 PM Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N2 vs. similar priced Yamaha upright? [Re: ChrisA]
EssBrace Online   content
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/01/09
Posts: 2326
Loc: Suffolk, United Kingdom
Just a personal preference but I would have the AG over ANY acoustic upright. An upright sounds like an upright and has an upright's action (even at its best, completely inferior to a grand's). The AG sonically emulates a grand and has a grand's action. Sonically, I would rather have a digital emulation of a grand than a top-notch acoustic upright. You have to remember that an upright was the digital of its day really...someone realised that many people could not afford a grand piano and could not physically accommodate one so the upright was developed. The upright piano was not the result of a quest for improved playability, volume, expressiveness, dynamics etc because in all these respects it is inferior to a grand piano. The upright was born out of a massive set of compromises.

Steve
_________________________
Yamaha CP1

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#1410723 - 04/04/10 02:28 PM Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N2 vs. similar priced Yamaha upright? [Re: EssBrace]
Salvador Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/28/09
Posts: 39
Originally Posted By: EssBrace
upright was the digital of its day really...

Steve


Interesting perspective, Steve. When I come to think about, I agree with this analogy smile
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#1410843 - 04/04/10 06:02 PM Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N2 vs. similar priced Yamaha upright? [Re: Salvador]
John_B Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/17/10
Posts: 621
Loc: Bristol, UK
Karnevil, if you post your question in the 'Digital Pianos - Synths & Keyboards' you will get answers advocating the N2.

If you post it in the 'Piano Forum' the majority of replies will probably be the other way round (unless you need to play quietly or with headphones).


Edited by John_B (04/04/10 06:03 PM)

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#1410849 - 04/04/10 06:11 PM Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N2 vs. similar priced Yamaha upright? [Re: EssBrace]
Melodialworks Music Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/19/05
Posts: 1309
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: EssBrace
Just a personal preference but I would have the AG over ANY acoustic upright.

Steve


+ 1
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Melodialworks Music
Yamaha C3X
Yamaha CP300 + Omnisphere
Yamaha NU1 + Production Grand

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#1410864 - 04/04/10 06:28 PM Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N2 vs. similar priced Yamaha upright? [Re: Karnevil]
dewster Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/09
Posts: 4271
Loc: Northern NJ
Buy a real studio piano, there is absolutely no comparison. Yamaha makes really nice studio pianos.

The AvantGrand sound technology is really mediocre for what you are paying.
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#1410875 - 04/04/10 06:48 PM Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N2 vs. similar priced Yamaha upright? [Re: dewster]
sucroid Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/24/10
Posts: 37
Originally Posted By: dewster
Buy a real studio piano, there is absolutely no comparison. Yamaha makes really nice studio pianos.

The AvantGrand sound technology is really mediocre for what you are paying.


Which DP has better sound technology than the AvantGrand?

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#1410877 - 04/04/10 06:51 PM Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N2 vs. similar priced Yamaha upright? [Re: dewster]
John_B Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/17/10
Posts: 621
Loc: Bristol, UK
For the price of an N2 you can probably get something like a Yamaha YUS5 or a Kawai K8 (at least in the UK).

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#1410894 - 04/04/10 07:24 PM Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N2 vs. similar priced Yamaha upright? [Re: John_B]
Volusiano Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/01/10
Posts: 770
Originally Posted By: John_B
For the price of an N2 you can probably get something like a Yamaha YUS5 or a Kawai K8 (at least in the UK).

The N2 retails for $15K while the YUS5 retails for $19.7K and its silent version (which is more apple to apple comparison to the N2) retails for $24.4K. The Kawai K8 retails for $18.2K as compared to the N2 retail of $15K.

So it's hardly comparable pricing and any of those 3 uprights cost a lot more than the N2.

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#1410895 - 04/04/10 07:29 PM Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N2 vs. similar priced Yamaha upright? [Re: John_B]
Chris H. Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/05
Posts: 2837
Loc: UK.
I played the N2 (for the 2nd time) the other day and just don't think it's worth the premium over the regular CLP's. The action felt like that of a digital piano and the sound was little different. It's not even close to my own 10 year old U1 which cost me a fraction of the price. Compared to a similarly priced acoustic upright it only makes sense if you need to be able to play through headphones.
_________________________
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#1410903 - 04/04/10 07:37 PM Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N2 vs. similar priced Yamaha upright? [Re: Chris H.]
snazzyplayer Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/26/09
Posts: 983
Loc: Earth
The acoustic uprights aren't worth buying, and you'll have a very difficult time selling one if your plans ever change...they are worth very little second hand.

Not only that, but the acoustic uprights will need tuning.

The Avant Grand N2 is your best possible choice...it sounds a heck of a lot better than any acoustic upright, and the feel of the action is far superior.

Snazzy
_________________________
Semper Gumby: Always flexible \:^)

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#1410906 - 04/04/10 07:44 PM Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N2 vs. similar priced Yamaha upright? [Re: snazzyplayer]
Chris H. Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/05
Posts: 2837
Loc: UK.
Originally Posted By: snazzyplayer
The acoustic uprights aren't worth buying, and you'll have a very difficult time selling one if your plans ever change...they are worth very little second hand.


Really?

I have owned several over the years and managed to sell every single one for more than I payed for it. Why not spend $15k on an N2 and then see what it's worth in 5 years time? You might be dissapointed.
_________________________
Pianist and piano teacher.

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#1410917 - 04/04/10 07:54 PM Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N2 vs. similar priced Yamaha upright? [Re: Volusiano]
Volusiano Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/01/10
Posts: 770
The N2's grand keyboard action is superior to almost all uprights's keyboard action in the first place, since it's a real grand action. You can't even find a grand action in any acoustic upright except for a very few latest and most expensive uprights. So it's not even a debate that the N2 has the advantage here on the action, and that's half of the advantage already (if you give the action 50% weight and sound the other 50%).

The only debatable point is on the sound. Yeah, the N2 is speaker sound, but it's no ordinary small pathetic stereo sound system like most other DPs. It's a 4-channel, 10-speaker, 2-transducer and 12-amplifier sound system, on top of a high quality 4-channel CFIIS concert grand sampled sound to boost. So whether this is inferior to an acoustic upright sound or not is debatable and a personal opinion. I wouldn't say one has a clear advantage over the other.

There are many other things worth considering that give the N2 a clear advantage: volume control, always in tune, no tuning cost, no voicing cost, no humidity control need, lighter weight, MIDI, USB, recording, playback, more sounds, direct line out for further amplification.

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#1410920 - 04/04/10 07:59 PM Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N2 vs. similar priced Yamaha upright? [Re: Volusiano]
Chris H. Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/05
Posts: 2837
Loc: UK.
I don't think it's as simple as splitting action and sound 50/50.

The action is being used to control the sound. So if the the sound itself is artificial then the action makes no real difference. This is what I felt when I played the N2 (and the N3). I coudn't equate the feel to that of a grand piano because what I was hearing was not a grand piano.
_________________________
Pianist and piano teacher.

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#1410922 - 04/04/10 08:01 PM Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N2 vs. similar priced Yamaha upright? [Re: Chris H.]
snazzyplayer Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/26/09
Posts: 983
Loc: Earth
At one time, uprights were worth buying...today, with such fantastic digitals like the N2, with superior action,AND sound, people are more interested in the latter.

The only acoustics worth investing in today would be grands.

The N2 would sell much quicker than an upright...hardly anybody buys uprights anymore....the sound isn't so hot compared to a digital of the same price, and you've got the cost of tuning...if I were going to buy a piano I HAD to tune, it wouldn't be an upright...it would be a grand...they hold their value much, much better...I know I could sell my old Steinway for far more than it cost new, but an older upright piano...sometimes they are hard to even give away.

Snazzy.
_________________________
Semper Gumby: Always flexible \:^)

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#1410923 - 04/04/10 08:03 PM Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N2 vs. similar priced Yamaha upright? [Re: Chris H.]
Volusiano Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/01/10
Posts: 770
Originally Posted By: Chris H.
Originally Posted By: snazzyplayer
The acoustic uprights aren't worth buying, and you'll have a very difficult time selling one if your plans ever change...they are worth very little second hand.

Really?

I have owned several over the years and managed to sell every single one for more than I payed for it. Why not spend $15k on an N2 and then see what it's worth in 5 years time? You might be dissapointed.

This is only because there's been no serious and viable competition to the acoustic uprights in the previous years that you owned your uprights, so you might have been able to luckily enjoy this advantage until now. But landscape has now changed with the coming of serious and viable alternatives such as the N2, so you'll no longer be able to enjoy this advantage anymore in the years to come. The evidence is in such thread as this one where people are beginning to question whether they should get a DP such as the N2 over an acoustic upright now.

In as much as questioning how much the N2 will be worth 5 years from now, I suspect that the picture for acoustic uprights' value will be even grimmer 5 years from now and will probably be worse than the N2, considering that serious competition has now arrived and is here to stay and will only get better.

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#1410930 - 04/04/10 08:09 PM Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N2 vs. similar priced Yamaha upright? [Re: Volusiano]
sucroid Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/24/10
Posts: 37
I have been asked in the last two years by two different people if I wanted an old upright for free. I took only one for my folks because that's all the space they had. And I had to pay $400 to move that thing!

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#1410933 - 04/04/10 08:13 PM Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N2 vs. similar priced Yamaha upright? [Re: Chris H.]
snazzyplayer Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/26/09
Posts: 983
Loc: Earth
Originally Posted By: Chris H.


So if the the sound itself is artificial then the action makes no real difference. This is what I felt when I played the N2 (and the N3). I couldn't equate the feel to that of a grand piano because what I was hearing was not a grand piano.


Actually when you play the N2, you are hearing the sound of a concert grand...when you play an upright, you hear the sound of that instrument.

The action in the N2 is from a grand...far superior to that of an upright.

Sound-wise, the upright takes a back seat to either an N2 or an N3...I had the latter, and it blows away any upright I've played, and as a working pro, I've played quite a few.

There will be those who prefer an acoustic...their numbers get smaller every year, while those who buy digital pianos are increasing.

Snazzy
_________________________
Semper Gumby: Always flexible \:^)

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#1410934 - 04/04/10 08:15 PM Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N2 vs. similar priced Yamaha upright? [Re: Chris H.]
Volusiano Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/01/10
Posts: 770
Originally Posted By: Chris H.
I don't think it's as simple as splitting action and sound 50/50.

The action is being used to control the sound. So if the the sound itself is artificial then the action makes no real difference. This is what I felt when I played the N2 (and the N3). I coudn't equate the feel to that of a grand piano because what I was hearing was not a grand piano.

So you're saying no matter how great the action is, you'll always give the sound 100% weight. That's just your personal opinion. I see most other people value the action as much as the sound, if not even more, especially when it comes to a DP as a practice instrument, and especially those who ultimately want to get an acoustic grand later on but want the grand action right now, today, even before they own an acoustic grand.

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#1410936 - 04/04/10 08:17 PM Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N2 vs. similar priced Yamaha upright? [Re: Volusiano]
Chris H. Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/05
Posts: 2837
Loc: UK.
Digital pianos have been around for quite some time now, certainly far longer than I have been buying and selling uprights. The last one I sold was 6 months ago.

People buy acoustic pianos because they fall in love with them. They are individual and each one has it's own distinctive character. Over on the piano forum you will hear of folks who say that their piano 'spoke to them'. It's got nothing to do with finding that perfect sound or action. That doesn't really exist.

I am afraid you can't mention technology and resale value in the same breath. Everyone knows that whatever they buy now will be worthless in years to come. We already know that the sampling technology used in the AvantGrand is on the way out. Why waste the money.

If you like the N2 then buy one second hand in a couple of years. You'll get it for nothing.
_________________________
Pianist and piano teacher.

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#1410944 - 04/04/10 08:20 PM Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N2 vs. similar priced Yamaha upright? [Re: Volusiano]
Chris H. Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/05
Posts: 2837
Loc: UK.
Originally Posted By: Volusiano
So you're saying no matter how great the action is, you'll always give the sound 100% weight.


No, just that you can't separate the two. Each depends on the other. What you hear with the N2 is a recording of a grand piano which is hardly the same thing.
_________________________
Pianist and piano teacher.

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#1410945 - 04/04/10 08:20 PM Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N2 vs. similar priced Yamaha upright? [Re: Chris H.]
Volusiano Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/01/10
Posts: 770
Originally Posted By: Chris H.
I played the N2 (for the 2nd time) the other day and just don't think it's worth the premium over the regular CLP's. The action felt like that of a digital piano and the sound was little different. It's not even close to my own 10 year old U1 which cost me a fraction of the price. Compared to a similarly priced acoustic upright it only makes sense if you need to be able to play through headphones.

You can argue all you want about the sound aspect, and I would still respect your opinion. But once you've said that "the N2 action felt like that of a digital piano", I no longer respect your opinion because obviously you either don't know what you're talking about, or you're so severely biased that your skewed opinion no longer has any credibility.

You're the first and only poster I've heard on this forum who said such a thing about the N2 action. I've heard from many other posters on this forum who may still prefer the acoustic sound better, but nobody ever disputed the action of the N2 to be NOT real grand action and only like that of a DP. That's because it's a fact (not just an opinion) that it is real grand action in there.

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#1410947 - 04/04/10 08:23 PM Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N2 vs. similar priced Yamaha upright? [Re: Chris H.]
snazzyplayer Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/26/09
Posts: 983
Loc: Earth
Originally Posted By: Chris H.


If you like the N2 then buy one second hand in a couple of years. You'll get it for nothing.






Yes, or buy a U1 and, in a couple of years, have to pay some one to haul it away...most music stores won't carry upright pianos any more...grands will always be around, although their numbers have been, and will continue to decrease as well.

A friend of mine sold a lot of digital pianos by having one set up next to an upright.

The only advantage an upright has over a grand is that it makes a smaller carbon footprint when it burns. wink

Snazzy
_________________________
Semper Gumby: Always flexible \:^)

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#1410952 - 04/04/10 08:28 PM Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N2 vs. similar priced Yamaha upright? [Re: snazzyplayer]
Chris H. Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/05
Posts: 2837
Loc: UK.
I'm not remotely biased. It's just an observation based on years of playing the piano, both acoustics and digitals.

What exactly is it you feel that you can achieve with the N2 action that you couldn't with the action of a comparably priced Yamaha upright?
_________________________
Pianist and piano teacher.

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#1410959 - 04/04/10 08:40 PM Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N2 vs. similar priced Yamaha upright? [Re: Chris H.]
MarcoM Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/17/10
Posts: 246
Originally Posted By: Chris H.
What exactly is it you feel that you can achieve with the N2 action that you couldn't with the action of a comparably priced Yamaha upright?


and to add a data point to the discussion on just how necessary a 'grand' action really is, check out these video of Volodos' version of the Turkish March:

played on an upright...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S5bFakdpY7k

played on a clavinova cgp-1000 (which if I'm not mistaken has an NW action.)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U54f_upaOaE

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#1410972 - 04/04/10 08:55 PM Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N2 vs. similar priced Yamaha upright? [Re: Chris H.]
Volusiano Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/01/10
Posts: 770
Originally Posted By: Chris H.
I am afraid you can't mention technology and resale value in the same breath. Everyone knows that whatever they buy now will be worthless in years to come. We already know that the sampling technology used in the AvantGrand is on the way out. Why waste the money.

Here comes that usual lame double standard again of labeling DPs as "technology" just for the sake of making the "resale" argument.

First of all, you can label DPs as "technology" all you want. There's nothing wrong with that. It's actually a good thing. And yes, technology evolves and every few years newer technology comes out. But do you see people ever stop buying newer cell phones or smart phones or laptops or HD TVs or BlueRays DVDs or the latest iPad, etc? People still snap them up like candies and nobody sits back and said "Oh, I'll wait a few more years until the next best thing comes along." If you're already of that mentality, you'll never buy any "technology" item in the first place, so you're not a viable consumer to be considered so who cares about those people in the first place? We're talking about people who's ready and want to make a purchase for the latest and best thing here. The bottom line is that technology is a good thing, and its resale value is not a consideration people worry about.

And even if it were to some people, when you invoke technology for the sake of arguing the resale value, you have to compare apple to apple and not play dirty by using the double standard. And the double standard here is playing the old DP vs new DP resale argument card, while what we're really debating here DP vs AP.

If you're going to argue that the resale of a DP will be worth nothing in a few years, why don't you also come out and say that this is because people will want to buy A NEW DP, and not because they want to buy a new acoustic, much less an acoustic upright? So what does this have to do with the DP vs AP debate? It's funny because the only thing you're confirming here unwittingly is that the more desirable product a few years from now IS GOING TO BE the newer DP. If it's not today's DP, it's sure as heck is not going to be today's acoustic upright either.

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#1410989 - 04/04/10 09:20 PM Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N2 vs. similar priced Yamaha upright? [Re: Chris H.]
Volusiano Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/01/10
Posts: 770
Originally Posted By: Chris H.
What exactly is it you feel that you can achieve with the N2 action that you couldn't with the action of a comparably priced Yamaha upright?

Not sure why you have to ask about this since you're a piano teacher. I've heard many piano teachers recommend their students to move to a grand from an upright when they get advanced enough because it's a universally accepted opinion that the grand action is superior to the upright action.

But if you have to ask anyway, maybe as a test, it's because of the fact that the hammers on the grand action are horizontally aligned, so they can return to their rest position faster and naturally by gravity (without needing spring mechanism to force this to happen as in the upright). This enables the design of the double escapement mechanism on the grand piano to allow faster repetition of notes without having to fully releasing the keys.

And although your question is specifically about the N2 action, I gave you an answer for acoustic grand action in general, because the N2 has the acoustic grand action. So it's not just specific to the N2. If one agrees that acoustic grand action is better than acoustic upright action in general, then by default, the N2 is better because it has the grand action.

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#1411003 - 04/04/10 09:37 PM Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N2 vs. similar priced Yamaha upright? [Re: dewster]
10fingers Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/14/09
Posts: 298
Loc: CA
re: Dewster +1


Edited by 10fingers (04/04/10 09:38 PM)

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#1411037 - 04/04/10 10:48 PM Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N2 vs. similar priced Yamaha upright? [Re: Volusiano]
FogVilleLad Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/02/05
Posts: 4680
Loc: San Francisco
snazzy and Volusiano, I agree with you, but can understand where ChrisH is coming from. When playing a DP we're always playing a recording of a piano. When listened to thru studio-quality 'phones - or perhaps a great sound system - that can be an enjoyable experience; but it's not the same thing as playing the actual piano. For ChrisH, this is an unsurmountable barrier.

This issue, IMO, is not resolvable. If people don't like something which isn't completely genuine, there's nothing which can be done about it.

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