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#1995898 - 12/07/12 10:48 AM Yamaha GH action feels different on different pianos??
floydthebarber71 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/07/12
Posts: 178
Loc: South Africa
Hi all

I've been reading around as much as I could on your forums and others and couldn't really find much about this specific subject (the forum search function doesn't work very well for me at all, btw, had more luck plodding through pages manually).

Anyway, I've been looking to get a digital piano. I tried to teach myself how to play a few years back when I had access to university music rooms (sneaky sneaky), but life took over and I want to try learn again.

I've played a few different models so far. I quite like the Yamahas, and my budget probably can stretch to afford a YDP-161, but my bank balance would prefer something like the S31.

I'm a bit confused, though. The GH action on the 161 was quite heavy. I tried a GHS and it felt just a bit light. But then I played a CVP501, which also has GH like the 161, but it felt different. It really felt good for me, lighter than the 161 and more...responsive? It just springs back better...not quite sure how to describe it. But there was a difference, and my fingers felt more comfy.

What is going on, have I missed something? Do the actions differ from piano to piano? I see some have some ivory finish or whatever, do these things make a big difference? Would one 161 play the same as another 161?

Wee bit more on my search, unrelated to post:

I've tried a Kawai CL36 and it was okay for me. Nothing mind blowing, and the one I tried had keys that seem a bit yellowed. The store owner said that's how Kawais colour their keys, which is a bit weird.

I have struggled to find Rolands in my city. Casios are...horrible.

So it's kinda between a 161 and a S31. I don't see the point of a 141, the specs look exactly the same as the S31. Maybe I can look for something second hand, like a Clavinova. I don't know if I can trust second hand digi pianos. Any comments on ones like CLP-220 or CLP-230? Rather go for more updated model or are these things reliable?

Apologies for long post. Help would be MUCH appreciated..
Zaahir

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#1995925 - 12/07/12 11:50 AM Re: Yamaha GH action feels different on different pianos?? [Re: floydthebarber71]
peterws Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/21/12
Posts: 3545
Loc: Northern England.
You`ll probably get better advice from others; but I would mention in passing (as it were) . . why not try playing your most awkward piece of music on these actions and see which works best? At the end of the day, you get used to whatever you have, both the sound and the action. I got a Yamaha with the light action (GHS)on a cheaper piano, it didn`t compare to a Kawai I previously had. But it does now. And is much more robust than the Kawai.


Edited by peterws (12/07/12 11:50 AM)
_________________________
"I'm playing all the right notes but not necessarily in the right order." Eric Morecambe

""

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#1995943 - 12/07/12 12:18 PM Re: Yamaha GH action feels different on different pianos?? [Re: floydthebarber71]
floydthebarber71 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/07/12
Posts: 178
Loc: South Africa
I don't quite know much as I am a beginner, so I'm trying to go on what feels the best for me. I really don't mind the GHS action on the S31, I am just thinking that I need something slightly heavier in handling to strengthen my fingers for when I do play an acoustic, whenever that might be.

What I'm just worried about is shunning a 161 when it could be just handling differently on that specific 161. I really don't know if this is the case because I tried the CVP501, which according to the spec sheet, has exactly the same GH action but felt different.
_________________________
Zaahir

Self-taught renegade - Kawai CL-36

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#1995949 - 12/07/12 12:36 PM Re: Yamaha GH action feels different on different pianos?? [Re: floydthebarber71]
CarloPiano Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/21/12
Posts: 168
The same action can be perceived differently by the same performer from one model to another because the overall sensation is a mix of action and sound produced or the response of the sound engine to the data provided by the action.

For instance, Yamaha uses three sample layers for some models (older Clavinova and I think some current Arius), others have four, another five layers... Some of the 400 series models (that uses GH3, identical to GH except for the addition of a third sensor) use RGE engine (supposedly better than AWM and AWM2...), older models with GH such as the CLP-120 uses only one layer slightly colored trough AWM. So the feel cannot be the same while using the same action.

Also the quality of the sample, speakers and responsiveness of the sound generator can provide a difference, and it's one of the reasons why Arius is cheaper than Clavinova.

So I think you are right, the same GH action sensation may vary from one model to another. GHS is a lighter action different to GH.

Quote:
Would one 161 play the same as another 161?


Having in account that digital pianos are mass produced and they are electronic, unless there is a manufacturing defect, the same model must sound and feel exactly the same. This is not applicable to acoustic pianos where different instruments same model may sound and response differently.

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#1995970 - 12/07/12 01:17 PM Re: Yamaha GH action feels different on different pianos?? [Re: floydthebarber71]
gvfarns Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/07
Posts: 3483
Loc: Pennsylvania
We have definitely had discussions about whether Yamaha has been varying their forumula over time while retaining the title GH or GH3. I have played some older generation GH3 pianos that felt very different from the ones you test in the store, and I don't think it's wear-and-tear.

It's sometimes difficult, though, to tell whether a difference from one piano to another is the physical action because they may have different velocity curves in place, not to mention different volumes, speakers, etc. The stuff CarloPiano mentioned. One way to evaluate whether the keys are physically different would be to turn off the piano and play silently on the keys to see if they actually feel different. If they don't, then you can probably just change some settings on the cheaper piano to get it to work the way you would like it to.

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#1995985 - 12/07/12 01:49 PM Re: Yamaha GH action feels different on different pianos?? [Re: floydthebarber71]
mitzysman Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/27/10
Posts: 283
i agree that they all feel somewhat different. I think the 161 feels heavier to me than all of them. I do know the action loosens up after about 6 months - my last action has. in the past I could feel a difference between p80, p90, p250, p155, cp300 very close but I think the p155 feels lightest to me.
_________________________
Yamaha P-250 | Galaxy II Pianos | Galaxy Vintage D | The GIANT

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#1995989 - 12/07/12 01:54 PM Re: Yamaha GH action feels different on different pianos?? [Re: floydthebarber71]
floydthebarber71 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/07/12
Posts: 178
Loc: South Africa
Thanks for replies. I don't even know what's a velocity curve, will have to read up.

I wasn't paying attention to the sound too much, I was jumping to different pianos looking for the feel of the keys, and I noted a distinct difference. I was playing the same set of keys with the same hand/fingers to make sure. The way the keys 'bounced' back after playing them on the 161 felt a bit more delayed, where the CVP501 was more responsive. Same GH title. I can't see anything else different in the spec sheet.

I'm really not sure. I'll be going to a few other stores to play the exact same piano models and hopefully this will give me some peace of mind.

What do you think of Yamaha models such as the Clavinova CLP-220 or CLP-230 in terms of buying second hand? Would it be better to get newer tech rather than something that's second hand and a generation or two behind? I'd want to keep it for at least a few years...
_________________________
Zaahir

Self-taught renegade - Kawai CL-36

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#1995990 - 12/07/12 01:54 PM Re: Yamaha GH action feels different on different pianos?? [Re: mitzysman]
floydthebarber71 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/07/12
Posts: 178
Loc: South Africa
Originally Posted By: mitzysman
I do know the action loosens up after about 6 months - my last action has.


That is very helpful. Thank you..

Although is that not your fingers getting stronger? Haha...I'm not sure how all the keys would loosen up evenly, seems a bit odd..


Edited by floydthebarber71 (12/07/12 01:57 PM)
_________________________
Zaahir

Self-taught renegade - Kawai CL-36

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#1996066 - 12/07/12 04:48 PM Re: Yamaha GH action feels different on different pianos?? [Re: floydthebarber71]
gvfarns Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/07
Posts: 3483
Loc: Pennsylvania
Originally Posted By: floydthebarber71
What do you think of Yamaha models such as the Clavinova CLP-220 or CLP-230 in terms of buying second hand? Would it be better to get newer tech rather than something that's second hand and a generation or two behind? I'd want to keep it for at least a few years...


There's a lot of variety on the used market. In digital pianos, it seems like people are often looking to get a large portion of what they originally paid, so most of the time the deals aren't that good. On the other hand, with a large variance you also get the other tail of the distribution, which means great deals.

I certainly wouldn't turn my nose up at a CLP 220 or 230 if I were in the market as there has not been any significant technological progress in Clavinovas since they were released in 2005.

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#1996232 - 12/08/12 02:46 AM Re: Yamaha GH action feels different on different pianos?? [Re: floydthebarber71]
floydthebarber71 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/07/12
Posts: 178
Loc: South Africa
Thanks. I have indeed found that people who are selling 10 year old ancient tech keyboards do not want to let them go for an ancient tech price. I should just realise if I'm buying new, I will be losing quite a bit of money should I decide to sell in 5 years or so.

I've seen a couple CLP 220s pop up at almost half the price of what I'd get a YDP-161 new. The 230 has popped up slightly cheaper than a new 161, so I am considering these options.
_________________________
Zaahir

Self-taught renegade - Kawai CL-36

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#1996287 - 12/08/12 07:36 AM Re: Yamaha GH action feels different on different pianos?? [Re: floydthebarber71]
MacMacMac Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/24/09
Posts: 3802
Loc: North Carolina
Floyd: Pianos often sit in classified-ad listings for a long time. So you can let the seller sweat, and come in with a lower offer.

The YDP161 now sells for around $1500 new.
The CLP230 was discontinued in 2008.
The prices-paid thread shows these US purchases of the CLP230 by forum members:
Dec-2006 ... $1904
Jan-2008 ... $1700
Jul-2008 ... $1800
So you could offer much, much less than $1500.

As for the CLP220, cheaper still:
Mar-2007 ... $1288
Mar-2007 ... $1449 CAD

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#1996387 - 12/08/12 12:19 PM Re: Yamaha GH action feels different on different pianos?? [Re: floydthebarber71]
floydthebarber71 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/07/12
Posts: 178
Loc: South Africa
I played a few models and do like the GH action a bit more now. Still a bit springy for my liking, not sure what it is, but an acoustic doesn't seem to bounce like that...I think I prefer the Kawai CL36 marginally, but the sound really was muddy when played with sustain pedal? I don't really have a trained ear or feel, but this is what it's like to me right now! Went back to try a GHS on a 141 and that felt like child's play smirk

Cheers Mac. I am going to check out a second hand CLP-230 which is selling for about $1200. I might be tempted to hang around and scout the classifieds for longer, but I also can't freakn wait to start playing (!!!) so the YDP-161 might be sitting in my flat sooner than I imagine...
_________________________
Zaahir

Self-taught renegade - Kawai CL-36

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#1996392 - 12/08/12 12:44 PM Re: Yamaha GH action feels different on different pianos?? [Re: floydthebarber71]
spanishbuddha Online   content
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/08/09
Posts: 2337
Loc: UK
Originally Posted By: floydthebarber71
I played a few models and do like the GH action a bit more now. Still a bit springy for my liking, not sure what it is, but an acoustic doesn't seem to bounce like that...I think I prefer the Kawai CL36 marginally, but the sound really was muddy when played with sustain pedal? I don't really have a trained ear or feel, but this is what it's like to me right now! Went back to try a GHS on a 141 and that felt like child's play smirk

Cheers Mac. I am going to check out a second hand CLP-230 which is selling for about $1200. I might be tempted to hang around and scout the classifieds for longer, but I also can't freakn wait to start playing (!!!) so the YDP-161 might be sitting in my flat sooner than I imagine...

Be careful if you are a beginner. That muddy sound you don't like with the sustain pedal down, might be because the Kawai has implemented longer sustain which is generally seen as a good thing. Might not be that, but just pointing this out.

The Yamaha GH and GHS actions do feel a bit springy underneath to me as well.

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#1996403 - 12/08/12 01:02 PM Re: Yamaha GH action feels different on different pianos?? [Re: floydthebarber71]
floydthebarber71 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/07/12
Posts: 178
Loc: South Africa
Well maybe it's just my inexperienced ear, but the Yamaha did sound better with the sustain pedal (notes were clearer) but if you pushed each note separately, the sound was more prolonged than if I pushed the same key for the same length of time on the Kawai. With the pedal, I cringed a little bit with the Kawai. I think I need to go play it again, judging from what you've said...

Who knows, I might stumble upon a Korg or Roland that might blow me away. Still on the lookout. I'm going to keep this thing for a good few years so I might as well be sure. I have a Casio 61-key thingy which I'm waiting to throw off my 4th floor balcony..
_________________________
Zaahir

Self-taught renegade - Kawai CL-36

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#1996814 - 12/09/12 09:03 AM Re: Yamaha GH action feels different on different pianos?? [Re: floydthebarber71]
floydthebarber71 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/07/12
Posts: 178
Loc: South Africa
Ok, I just have to mention that I did check out the Kawai CL-36 again. And it was awesome. I can see why I got the impression of the muddy sustain; it does have a bit of the characteristic but it was more the muffled tone of the speakers that contributed. I used headphones and really enjoyed it. I felt comfortable with the action, it felt a lot more homely than the springy Yamaha actions smirk

In terms of my personal choice, I might very well go with the CL-36 now, but is pushing my budget on $1500 and I would have liked it to come with a slide cover at least. Especially to hide to fact that it has ivory keys instead of pure white keys...I'm not such a fan of the slightly yellowed look, but all is forgotten once I start playing....mmm very nice smile But I still have one eye out on classifieds sites, budget is a problem sadly, but only Yamahas popping up.

Thanks for all the help
_________________________
Zaahir

Self-taught renegade - Kawai CL-36

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