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#2004327 - 12/25/12 03:21 PM Starting on an electric piano
Loetsj Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 05/07/12
Posts: 7
It's odd that I can't find tons of threads with this title on this forum smile

For the moment, I am learning to play the piano. Since I've heard that learning to play the piano on an electric piano is very bad, I always go out and play on the upright pianos that my university provides.
On the other hand, I'd like to play in my dig but I'm afraid my neighbours won't like it if I play an acoustic piano in my room.

Is it indeed very bad to learn to play on an electric piano? Do I better keep with the acoustic pianos?

best wishes
season's greetings

Bart

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#2004346 - 12/25/12 04:26 PM Re: Starting on an electric piano [Re: Loetsj]
Michael_99 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/28/12
Posts: 935
Loc: Canada Alberta
Bart,

You have played a digital and you have played an acoustic piano. You know the differences and the similarities. I love the acoustic piano more for the awesome sound but an electric is awesome, too. If you were at Lang Lang's level, you might have greater needs than what some digital pianos offer, but the fact you have access for both the digital and an acoustic piano through the university, it sounds like you have the best of both worlds and the only thing you have to worry about is managing the thousnds of hours of practice that piano student must practdice.

Cheers, and good lluck.

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#2004354 - 12/25/12 05:37 PM Re: Starting on an electric piano [Re: Loetsj]
joyoussong Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/19/09
Posts: 727
Loc: Canada
Hi Bart,
I've been learning on an accoustic for about 4 years, & I bought a digital a month ago. I still have the accoustic, & play them both about equally, depending mostly on the time of day. My neighbours have been very understanding about listening to tolerating my progress on the accoustic, but I've never felt comfortable playing early in the morning or after about 8 at night. It is SO nice to have those restrictions removed. Also, when I'm playing the digital, I know that ABSOLUTELY no one can hear me; it's been very liberating to have that feeling sometimes. My digital (Yamaha P155) has a port for a USB stick, too, so it'll be easy to record & transfer to my computer. One of these days I might even post something here. The digital for sure is different than accoustics, & I'm glad I have both, but I'm VERY glad I have the digital now. Just try out a lot of digitals beforehand - I played a couple of what I thought were real lemons while I was deciding what to buy.

MERRY CHRISTMAS!
_________________________
Carol
(Started playing July 2008)



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#2004744 - 12/26/12 11:11 PM Re: Starting on an electric piano [Re: Loetsj]
personne Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/24/12
Posts: 123
Loc: Toronto, Canada
Originally Posted By: Loetsj
Is it indeed very bad to learn to play on an electric piano? Do I better keep with the acoustic pianos?

If you go for a new acoustic, you will spend at least $3-4K, and in this price range you can get a great digital piano with all conveniences of a digital piano vs entry level acoustic vertical piano with relatively heavy action.

Probably is it not very good to learn piano on $400 digital instrument though smile

All just MHO.


Edited by personne (12/26/12 11:17 PM)
_________________________
Playing on Roland HP-507RW

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#2004750 - 12/26/12 11:28 PM Re: Starting on an electric piano [Re: personne]
Charles Cohen Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/26/12
Posts: 938
Loc: Richmond, BC, Canada
Since I just bought a Casio XP-350, you should allow for some bias in what I say . . .

I studied piano for lots of years as a youth, and am re-starting it as a retiree. 40 years of technique decay is a long time.

I was using an old synth (Korg X5D) with touch-sensitive spring-loaded (organ-type) keys. As I tried to get my touch under control, and play scales _evenly_, I realized that I was making a mistake:

. . . the practice I was doing was on the wrong tool.

There's a substantial difference between a touch-sensitive organ (or synth) keyboard, and a touch-sensitive weighted-key keyboard. I didn't want to mis-train myself!

Before trying the Casio PX-350, I played for a while on one of the acoustic pianos in the shop, just to get a feel for what a _real_ piano felt like.

The Casio was _reasonably close_, in feel, to that piano. Ignoring the difference in sound quality, the two keyboards were clearly in the same family. I expect that an "even touch" on one, will translate nicely into an "even touch" on the other.

I can't speak for the "velocity mapping" of the Casio (how hard do you hit the key for "ff"? How hard for "pp" ?) compared to the velocity-to-loudness mapping of the acoustic piano. But that's something I would expect to vary piano-by-piano, within acoustic pianos. And it's something I'd expect to compensate for during performance.

So my take is:

. . . a weighted-keyboard digital piano is probably OK
. . . for "learning piano".

At some point, you'll need the "real thing". But that point could be years away.

. Charles

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#2004800 - 12/27/12 05:10 AM Re: Starting on an electric piano [Re: joyoussong]
adultpianist Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/01/12
Posts: 539
Originally Posted By: joyoussong
Hi Bart,
I've been learning on an accoustic for about 4 years, & I bought a digital a month ago. I still have the accoustic, & play them both about equally, depending mostly on the time of day. My neighbours have been very understanding about listening to tolerating my progress on the accoustic, but I've never felt comfortable playing early in the morning or after about 8 at night. It is SO nice to have those restrictions removed. Also, when I'm playing the digital, I know that ABSOLUTELY no one can hear me; it's been very liberating to have that feeling sometimes. My digital (Yamaha P155) has a port for a USB stick, too, so it'll be easy to record & transfer to my computer. One of these days I might even post something here. The digital for sure is different than accoustics, & I'm glad I have both, but I'm VERY glad I have the digital now. Just try out a lot of digitals beforehand - I played a couple of what I thought were real lemons while I was deciding what to buy.

MERRY CHRISTMAS!


Do you play with earphones? I have a digital and do not live in a house, I live in an apartment with a person below me. Although I sometimes use earphones to block out the sound so the person below cannot hear me, he can hear the vibrations of the piano, especially when I am playing in forte where I obviously hit the key harder. Unfortunately the floorboards are not that good and I can be heard walking around and obviously the vibrations of a digital piano can be felt/heard too.

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#2004844 - 12/27/12 08:47 AM Re: Starting on an electric piano [Re: adultpianist]
joyoussong Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/19/09
Posts: 727
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: adultpianist
Originally Posted By: joyoussong
Hi Bart,
I've been learning on an accoustic for about 4 years, & I bought a digital a month ago. I still have the accoustic, & play them both about equally, depending mostly on the time of day. My neighbours have been very understanding about listening to tolerating my progress on the accoustic, but I've never felt comfortable playing early in the morning or after about 8 at night. It is SO nice to have those restrictions removed. Also, when I'm playing the digital, I know that ABSOLUTELY no one can hear me; it's been very liberating to have that feeling sometimes. My digital (Yamaha P155) has a port for a USB stick, too, so it'll be easy to record & transfer to my computer. One of these days I might even post something here. The digital for sure is different than accoustics, & I'm glad I have both, but I'm VERY glad I have the digital now. Just try out a lot of digitals beforehand - I played a couple of what I thought were real lemons while I was deciding what to buy.

MERRY CHRISTMAS!


Do you play with earphones? I have a digital and do not live in a house, I live in an apartment with a person below me. Although I sometimes use earphones to block out the sound so the person below cannot hear me, he can hear the vibrations of the piano, especially when I am playing in forte where I obviously hit the key harder. Unfortunately the floorboards are not that good and I can be heard walking around and obviously the vibrations of a digital piano can be felt/heard too.


Oh no! Really? Yes, I do play with earphones, & I have wood floors, too. But I'm least concerned about the person downstairs. She plays too - has been playing for about 70 years - & is also an early riser & I think quite a sound sleeper. She's also very encouraging of my efforts, & says that by practicing every day, I inspire her to play every day, too. It's the people right next door that I don't want to wake up early in the morning. I'll ask my downstairs neighbour, though, if she can tell when I'm playing the digital. I asked when I moved in if she could hear me walking around - at the time I was deciding whether to extend the wood floors into the bedrooms. She said she heard me much less than the previous person who'd lived here, & she wasn't bothered by the sound of someone walking anyway, so to go ahead with the wood floors. Now that I think of it, I'd had it for a week or so before she knew about it, & if she'd heard strange noises, she probably would've mentioned it when she came up to see it. But all she said was that she wished she had one so she could play late at night sometimes.


Edited by joyoussong (12/27/12 08:49 AM)
_________________________
Carol
(Started playing July 2008)



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#2004880 - 12/27/12 10:42 AM Re: Starting on an electric piano [Re: adultpianist]
Charles Cohen Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/26/12
Posts: 938
Loc: Richmond, BC, Canada
Originally Posted By: adultpianist


I have a digital and do not live in a house, I live in an apartment with a person below me. Although I sometimes use earphones to block out the sound so the person below cannot hear me,


You might be able to find some vibration-dampening pads to put under the legs of your digital piano. They're used extensively to control the floor-shaking of industrial machinery. Googling "vibration dampening pads" gets many promising hits.

But if your downstairs neighbor is _determined_ to hear you, even those might not be enough.

. Charles

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#2004884 - 12/27/12 10:50 AM Re: Starting on an electric piano [Re: Loetsj]
zrtf90 Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/29/12
Posts: 2230
Loc: Ireland (ex England)
A high end digital piano (Yamaha CLP, Roland HP and Kawai CA series) is good enough to take you well past Grade 8. You may not get the organic sensations and wonderful sounds of a top end acoustic (over four foot upright, six foot grand and well maintained, regulated and voiced) but you'll get a much more responsive keyboard and sound than a low end acoustic (short scale or poorly regulated and voiced).

The sustain is short on digitals and they make for poorer listening but the initial attack is very good and responsive making for a much better playing experience than a listening one and their other advantages have swung me to favour one over a regular acoustic. I sold my two acoustics long ago and have no regrets. I would not consider owning another acoustic without a digital.

If you plan to play on an acoustic in the future make sure you minimise headphone use and keep the volume up to maintain your touch. A DP with 25+25 watts stereo output will need to be at full volume to come close to matching an acoustic. Below that you don't get the response from the keyboard or hear enough interference from overuse of the sustain pedal. I play a 30w+30w DP at full whack on speakers but reduce it to three-quarters (purely for ear-protection) when I use headphones. A 50w+50w model may get away with about two-thirds or three-quarters volume.

If you have had or still have regular access to a good acoustic piano your technique will continue to improve on a digital instrument. Play with passion and you'll more than compensate for any shortcomings in the aesthetics of the sound. It's better to hear Luke Kelly singing Scorn Not His Simplicity with emotion than to hear Pavarotti singing boy band material without. Music is not just about sound and today's high end digitals are better than anything Mozart or Beethoven ever heard.

Viktoriya Yermolyeva (vkgoeswild) has won many an international piano competition but seems quite content with a digital.

_________________________
Richard

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#2004914 - 12/27/12 12:06 PM Re: Starting on an electric piano [Re: Loetsj]
ju5t1n-h Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/13/12
Posts: 179
Loc: Vancouver, British Columbia
Pianists shouldn't be disheartened from buying an acoustic piano just because they live in an apartment - and I know a lot of people won't like me saying this but.....
--- you have a right to own and play a musical instrument in your apartment (at normal times obviously)
--- people who complain about noise - you can tell them it isn't noise - its actually music and that you tell them that if they don't stop complaining you will charge them for listening to your performances :P

I have an acoustic piano in my apartment, and i haven't ever had someone complain. I play anywhere from 8am in the morning to 11pm at night (use the dampener after 10pm) and have never had anyone complain. Maybe i'm lucky, but I definitely would not be disheartened from owning one...
_________________________
Essex EUP-123S


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#2004926 - 12/27/12 12:28 PM Re: Starting on an electric piano [Re: zrtf90]
personne Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/24/12
Posts: 123
Loc: Toronto, Canada
Originally Posted By: zrtf90
A high end digital piano (Yamaha CLP, Roland HP and Kawai CA series) is good enough to take you well past Grade 8. You may not get the organic sensations and wonderful sounds of a top end acoustic (over four foot upright, six foot grand and well maintained, regulated and voiced) but you'll get a much more responsive keyboard and sound than a low end acoustic (short scale or poorly regulated and voiced)


Exactly. I learned to play on a cheaper acoustic, I was surprised it is easier for me to play some fast passages on a high-end digital.

High-end digital is no way to compete with high-end acoustic instrument from $40K up, but its action is certainly better than action of upright acoustic below 10K, and often the sound.
Yes, I want to have my own acoustic instrument with time, but only high-end one.
_________________________
Playing on Roland HP-507RW

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#2004931 - 12/27/12 12:36 PM Re: Starting on an electric piano [Re: personne]
Charles Cohen Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/26/12
Posts: 938
Loc: Richmond, BC, Canada
I'm still exploring the differences between my new PX-350 and an acoustic piano . . .

. . . The damper-pedal action is different.

For "learning piano", that might not be important. For "playing piano", it matters.

Practice on an acoustic piano when you get the chance. It'l be like driving someone else's car -- familiar, but not quite what you're used to.

. Charles

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#2005102 - 12/27/12 06:16 PM Re: Starting on an electric piano [Re: Loetsj]
Schroeder II Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/17/12
Posts: 82
I am learning om a P95 Yamaha
Find it versatile and fits my budget
I would agree that a good acoustic may sound better but for now its the best I can afford.
Not only that I would end up with a digital anyway
Why?
My niece is learning guitar and I can bring my instrument to her house and we can play together

Those Kodak moments alone are well worth it!

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#2014959 - 01/15/13 02:24 PM Re: Starting on an electric piano [Re: Loetsj]
Loetsj Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 05/07/12
Posts: 7
Thanks guys for the replies!

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#2014962 - 01/15/13 02:29 PM Re: Starting on an electric piano [Re: Loetsj]
Loetsj Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 05/07/12
Posts: 7
Any suggestions on which one I should buy? I reckon 88 keys and fully weighted? Which brand would you suggest? Let's us say that the price range would be 400 euros.

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#2014970 - 01/15/13 02:42 PM Re: Starting on an electric piano [Re: Loetsj]
sinophilia Offline

Gold Supporter until Sept. 05 2014


Registered: 06/26/12
Posts: 900
Loc: Italy
Casio Privia PX-135 (about €500) or previous models, fully weighted, nice touch. Or a Yamaha in the same price range if you like the sound better.
_________________________
Diana & Wally - Yamaha W110BW
All one has to do is hit the right notes at the right time, and the instrument plays itself. (J.S. Bach)
http://soundcloud.com/sinophilia

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#2014989 - 01/15/13 03:27 PM Re: Starting on an electric piano [Re: Loetsj]
Norrec Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/16/10
Posts: 28
I own a digital piano but play on an acoustic when I go for lessons. It took a couple lessons(lets say 4) to adapt but now I don't notice much difference going between the two. Sometimes my pieces sound better on my digital, sometimes they sound better on the acoustic. I can confirm the sustain pedals do not work the same bvetween the two. On my digital I can almost hold the pedal down and never release it and things will sound ok. If I try this on the acoustic it sounds horrible and quickly becomes a mess. Being aware of this I pay extra attention to releasing and reapplying the pedal as the music describes so I'm ready to do the same in lesson.

I definately agree with keeping the volume knob turned up. The first thing my teacher noticed was I was afraid to play loudly on the acoustic. I was trying to make it match the volume of my digital, but the problem was sometimes I'd hit the keys so light they'd make no sound at all. It turns out acoustic pianos are loud, since I'd never touched one before I wasn't aware. I had the volume at about 15%. Now I keep it above 25% or right at 25% with my headphones.

I don't know if I'd go full bore and put the volume at max though. Maybe it depends on the model, but if I put my digital at max volume I'd get run out of my apartment within the hour. Not to mention I'd be deaf a month from now.

Also make sure you're buying a digital piano and not a keyboard. I don't know if this is just marketing or a actual distinction, but ones labeled keyboards didn't seem to have the same weighted keys.


Edited by Norrec (01/15/13 03:29 PM)

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#2015916 - 01/17/13 03:57 AM Re: Starting on an electric piano [Re: personne]
MrPozor Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/11/12
Posts: 58
Loc: near Paris, France
Originally Posted By: personne

High-end digital is no way to compete with high-end acoustic instrument from $40K up, but its action is certainly better than action of upright acoustic below 10K, and often the sound.
Yes, I want to have my own acoustic instrument with time, but only high-end one.


This might be true for new acoustic pianos but if you buy a used upright (3000€ upwards), you can get better action for the money than with a digital.
As for the sound, this is something very subjective. I've tried even the most expensive digitals in a piano shop and always found the sound to be too sterile. An acoustic piano comes alive when you play it and you can feel the vibrations.
The real advantage of digital in my opinion is the ease of use. They are relatively light, transportable, you can play with earphones, record easily and never have to tune them.

MrPozor
_________________________
Currently learning:

Equipment: Petrof 118 L1

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#2015938 - 01/17/13 05:35 AM Re: Starting on an electric piano [Re: ju5t1n-h]
AshwayGap Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/27/12
Posts: 36
Loc: Saddleworth UK
Originally Posted By: ju5t1n-h
Pianists shouldn't be disheartened from buying an acoustic piano just because they live in an apartment - and I know a lot of people won't like me saying this but.....
--- you have a right to own and play a musical instrument in your apartment (at normal times obviously)
--- people who complain about noise - you can tell them it isn't noise - its actually music and that you tell them that if they don't stop complaining you will charge them for listening to your performances :P



Yep, that'll work fine for a dear old lady but if it's any kind of large bruiser adjoining your apartment and try that one you leave with a fat lip.

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