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#1985618 - 11/12/12 05:50 AM Kawai CA95 keyboard action vs. others
Taylorius Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/16/11
Posts: 44
Hi

I visited Rose Morris in London over the weekend, to try out the new Kawai CA95. I've been looking for a new piano to replace my ageing Technics DP (no sniggering at the back there) :-).

Anyway, Rose Morris stock Kawai ad Roland DPs, so I did some comparing. Sound-wise, I loved the CA95. The soundboard really helps give it some oomph in the bass, great stuff.

This was in stark contrast to the Rolands, which all sounded as if I was listening to them from another room. They sounded so badly muffled, I thought some setting must have been fiddled with - but they all sounded the same, and the assistant seemed to think that was as they should be.

When it came to Keyboard action, however, I had a reservation about the CA95. The keys seemed to take forever to rebound after playing a note. I conferred with another customer, we both tried some fast repetitions, and agreed that the keys were problematically "soupy", they just don't snap back quickly enough.

The Roland's keyboards seem to be emulating a Steinway, and snap back nice and quickly, though they do seem a bit insubstantial in comparison to the Kawai's keys.

It's really annoying actually, as I was all set to love the CA95, but these soupy keys are nagging at me. My other option is an N1 / NU1 but they're a bit above my price range, and in the case of the N1, a bit bulky.

Anyway, I'm still thinking about my options. I haven't tried the equivalent Yamaha CLP 470/480 yet, so will see how that goes. Has anyone else noticed similar issues with the Kawai? Or have any advice / ideas? Do tell. :-)

Matt

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#1985710 - 11/12/12 12:36 PM Re: Kawai CA95 keyboard action vs. others [Re: Taylorius]
UK Paul UK Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/22/11
Posts: 396
Loc: Berkshire, England
Ive had two ca95's (keys scratched on the first) and cannot fault either with speed of key return. Fast trills are only held back by my speed... i would try another ca95 or ca65 before being put off...
_________________________
http://www.youtube.com/user/PaulGPiano

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#1985712 - 11/12/12 12:39 PM Re: Kawai CA95 keyboard action vs. others [Re: Taylorius]
UK Paul UK Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/22/11
Posts: 396
Loc: Berkshire, England
Plus tried the clp470 and not in the same league as ca95... dont know about clp480 but in uk its a lot more than the kawai
_________________________
http://www.youtube.com/user/PaulGPiano

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#1985743 - 11/12/12 02:52 PM Re: Kawai CA95 keyboard action vs. others [Re: Taylorius]
JFP Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/19/10
Posts: 1336
Loc: The Netherlands
Was there no other ca65 or ca95 unit somewhere to try ? Just to be sure it wasn't just this unit and before the whole new CA series is written of as a result. You never know...

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#1985800 - 11/12/12 04:58 PM Re: Kawai CA95 keyboard action vs. others [Re: Taylorius]
Taylorius Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/16/11
Posts: 44
I'm going to return tomorrow morning and do a DAMN THOROUGH COMPARISON :-) of the ca95 and ca65 action. Actually I hope you are all right, and that particular piano is just rather loose-keyed, as I do love the ca95 apart from this issue.

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#1985817 - 11/12/12 05:26 PM Re: Kawai CA95 keyboard action vs. others [Re: Taylorius]
spanishbuddha Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/08/09
Posts: 2356
Loc: UK
I've not played the CA95 but when I did test play a CA93 I too had a perception that the key return was slowish. But I was also aware that the key length to the pivot was longer than that I was used to on my CN33. This might possibly account for this difference in perception (like a pendulum). Whether it affects playing repetition I cannot say, but I also thought the keydip was shallower and this may compensate. Question is I suppose would you get used to and adjust after a short period.

Did you try a Roland LX15 with the lid open? Maybe that is not so muffled.

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#1985821 - 11/12/12 05:39 PM Re: Kawai CA95 keyboard action vs. others [Re: Taylorius]
JFP Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/19/10
Posts: 1336
Loc: The Netherlands
Could you do a quick tryout on an ES7 as well, if they have that ? Just out of pure curiosity ; I wonder what your thoughts are about that keybed. I personally think its pretty fast in repetition , of course a different touch/feel than GF, but wonder of you like it.

Hope the other ca ('s) are indeed more to your liking and the unit you tried first was a bit off.

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#1985844 - 11/12/12 06:38 PM Re: Kawai CA95 keyboard action vs. others [Re: Taylorius]
Taylorius Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/16/11
Posts: 44
Hey Guys

Thanks for the ideas, I will definitely try the LX15 and ES7, and report back! There is another shop nearby which stocks the N1 and NU1, so I'll look at those too. (As well as the 470)

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#1985938 - 11/12/12 11:32 PM Re: Kawai CA95 keyboard action vs. others [Re: Taylorius]
pv88 Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/31/10
Posts: 2630
Originally Posted By: Taylorius

When it came to Keyboard action, however, I had a reservation about the CA95. The keys seemed to take forever to rebound after playing a note. I conferred with another customer, we both tried some fast repetitions, and agreed that the keys were problematically "soupy", they just don't snap back quickly enough.


@Taylorius,

Do keep in mind that the CA95's Grand Feel action has the longest and heaviest keys of any DP out there, as they are almost identical to the Kawai EX concert grand. I believe that the player has to really work the action well to become accustomed to the feel with fast repetitions. There shouldn't be any issues with getting the effect you want with the triple sensors.

Here is short test which demonstrates some repeated notes:

https://www.box.com/s/m2yf56x2926dyprrpl7s

The notes have been played in short 4-note groups, from middle C to E, and, then the same again, one octave higher.

All of the notes I intended to repeat do appear to "sound."

So, no problems with getting the keys to work.

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#1987074 - 11/15/12 12:46 PM Re: Kawai CA95 keyboard action vs. others [Re: Taylorius]
Dutch Dhamma Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 10/06/12
Posts: 52
Loc: Netherlands
Originally Posted By: Taylorius
When it came to Keyboard action, however, I had a reservation about the CA95. The keys seemed to take forever to rebound after playing a note. I conferred with another customer, we both tried some fast repetitions, and agreed that the keys were problematically "soupy", they just don't snap back quickly enough. It's really annoying actually, as I was all set to love the CA95, but these soupy keys are nagging at me. My other option is an N1 / NU1 but they're a bit above my price range, and in the case of the N1, a bit bulky.

Anyway, I'm still thinking about my options. I haven't tried the equivalent Yamaha CLP 470/480 yet, so will see how that goes. Has anyone else noticed similar issues with the Kawai? Or have any advice / ideas? Do tell. :-) Matt

In my experience the Yamaha keyboard with the so called linear graded hammer is absolutely no match to the Kawai Grand Feel keyboard. The Yamaha keyboard plays very heavy and is realy noisy. I also cannot believe that you can play notes faster on the Kawai Grand Feel keyboard then the keys are able to return. Or you are a kind of Lucky Luke who shoots faster then his own shadow smile Maybe you just have to get used to this kind of realy wooden keyboard with exeptional long keys. I love it. But who am I ?
_________________________
Learning to play piano on a Kawai CA 95-SB / Sennheiser HD 600

"Music in the soul can be heard by the universe".
Lao Tzu

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#1987186 - 11/15/12 05:28 PM Re: Kawai CA95 keyboard action vs. others [Re: Taylorius]
MacMacMac Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/24/09
Posts: 3815
Loc: North Carolina
I have a Yamaha with GH3 keyboard. It's quiet, even after four years of use. And it's not heavy.

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#1987271 - 11/15/12 10:19 PM Re: Kawai CA95 keyboard action vs. others [Re: pv88]
pv88 Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/31/10
Posts: 2630
Originally Posted By: pv88
Originally Posted By: Taylorius

When it came to Keyboard action, however, I had a reservation about the CA95. The keys seemed to take forever to rebound after playing a note. I conferred with another customer, we both tried some fast repetitions, and agreed that the keys were problematically "soupy", they just don't snap back quickly enough.


@Taylorius,

Do keep in mind that the CA95's Grand Feel action has the longest and heaviest keys of any DP out there, as they are almost identical to the Kawai EX concert grand. I believe that the player has to really work the action well to become accustomed to the feel with fast repetitions. There shouldn't be any issues with getting the effect you want with the triple sensors.

Here is short test which demonstrates some repeated notes:

https://www.box.com/s/i64fikl09xstp6iihox0

The notes have been played in short 4-note groups, from middle C to E, and, then the same again, one octave higher.

All of the notes I intended to repeat do appear to "sound."

So, no problems with getting the keys to work.


@Taylorius,

I wanted to add the CA95's "Grand Feel" action responds exactly how you want it to, depending on your ability and technique.

However, this action is not slow to rebound as the above test recording indicates.

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#1987447 - 11/16/12 12:15 PM Re: Kawai CA95 keyboard action vs. others [Re: MacMacMac]
Dutch Dhamma Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 10/06/12
Posts: 52
Loc: Netherlands
Originally Posted By: MacMacMac
I have a Yamaha with GH3 keyboard. It's quiet, even after four years of use. And it's not heavy.

I was refering to the new Yamaha linear graded hammer keyboards used in the CLP 470 and CLP 480. They make definitely more noise and play heavier then the Kawai GrandFeel keyboard used in the CA 65 and CA 95. The older GH3 Yamaha keyboard used in the CLP 370 and CLP 380 played lighter and not so noisy. Maybe your keyboard from four years ago resemble this ones. But ofcourse this is all very subjective.
_________________________
Learning to play piano on a Kawai CA 95-SB / Sennheiser HD 600

"Music in the soul can be heard by the universe".
Lao Tzu

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#1991111 - 11/26/12 02:07 PM Re: Kawai CA95 keyboard action vs. others [Re: Taylorius]
TommyTV Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/09/09
Posts: 5
Loc: Cheshire, U.K.
I have a ca93 at home, but my piano tutor has a Yamaha grand (acoustic) . I chose the Kawai as the action is virtually identical to the Yamaha and of all the electronic pianos i tried, actually sounds and feels like a grand. I've owned the piano for over a year now and it never ceases to amaze me how beautiful it sounds. Do remember that playing the piano is also about technique. I used to play Hammond Organ for many years, so it's taken me the best part of a year and hours of Hanon to regain control of my left hand. I love to play Chopin and I reckon the action of this piano is up there with the best.

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#1991148 - 11/26/12 03:16 PM Re: Kawai CA95 keyboard action vs. others [Re: Taylorius]
Vid Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/12/01
Posts: 834
Loc: Vancouver, B.C.
I had the opportunity to try out the CA93 last weekend and the Yamaha NU1, N1 and N2. While the CA93 was good for a digital the hybrids impressed me a lot more. I don't think you can beat having a real action over the simulated one. I think for myself the N1 would be the most ideal for serious practice. I even think it is superior to an acoustic upright. I didn't notice enough difference between the N1 and N2 to warrant the price difference.

I was hoping to like the CA93 and the NU1 as much as the N1 for monetary reasons, but I can't argue with how superior the action is between those and the N1.

I also tried some of the more standard Yamaha digitals like the Clavinovas and the actions just feels like mud in comparison.
_________________________
Kawai VPC1, Pianoteq, Galaxy Vintage D

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#1991160 - 11/26/12 03:59 PM Re: Kawai CA95 keyboard action vs. others [Re: Vid]
kapelli Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/26/12
Posts: 381
Loc: Poland
Vid,

You were comparing the CA93 not the CA95? which as I read has much better action.
I am asking because in one or two months time I will need to decide between CA95, HP507 or CLP470 wink

Till today I am playing on acoustic uproght, but I need to but digital due to change of my flat and my neighbours probably would kill me with me playing each evening on upright laugh

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#1991191 - 11/26/12 05:35 PM Re: Kawai CA95 keyboard action vs. others [Re: Taylorius]
Vid Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/12/01
Posts: 834
Loc: Vancouver, B.C.
I would have liked to try the CA95 but the store only had the 93 unfortunately. I think I would prefer the Kawai CA93 action over any Clavinova.

I know what its like with neighbours which is why I use a digital for home practice. I would also consider the NU1 which is comparable in price to the CA93.
_________________________
Kawai VPC1, Pianoteq, Galaxy Vintage D

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#1991314 - 11/27/12 04:19 AM Re: Kawai CA95 keyboard action vs. others [Re: Taylorius]
AshwayGap Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/27/12
Posts: 36
Loc: Saddleworth UK
Well, all these things are rather subjective and obviously you should choose what suites you. However, as the owner of a Kawai CA95, I can say that the keys on mine are are as receptive as an acoustic piano and when playing quick jazz they have bounced back with no delay, the sound of the Concert Grand is simply outstanding and I rarely change to another medium. I have no hum whatsoever from the transformer, the pedals are well placed for me as I am not too tall but do have big feet. The only thing I find slightly annoying is the sustaining pedal needs a little more effort to push down than I have been used to but that's no problem and I will get used to it. Hope I've not received a faulty piano.

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#1991329 - 11/27/12 05:28 AM Re: Kawai CA95 keyboard action vs. others [Re: Vid]
Taylorius Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/16/11
Posts: 44
Hi Vid

I must say I agree with you. I spent a morning looking at Kawai, Roland and Yamaha N1 / NU1, and the Yamahas were streets ahead, action wise (no surprise, given they ARE a real action).

I don't want to diss. the Kawai CA95, mind you. It was really good, I LOVED its sound (much better than the NU1, which lacked bottom end to my ear). I just found it's keys a little sluggish. More sluggish than its predecessor, in fact.

The Rolands I didn't care for to be honest. Muddy muffled sound from their speakers. People have mentioned listening through headphones, or using some other speakers, but that's no good IMO - it ought to do a decent job by itself.

I also tried the V-Piano, but contrary to many people on this forum, I didn't like its sound - it seemed overly metallic, and artificial sounding.

I'm excited to hear about Bluthner's new e-klavier. They have the higher end model in their London piano centre, so I am going to go and see it as soon as I can.

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#1991555 - 11/27/12 03:16 PM Re: Kawai CA95 keyboard action vs. others [Re: Taylorius]
Vid Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/12/01
Posts: 834
Loc: Vancouver, B.C.
I wish I could try the e-klavier but I don't think there are any dealers in North America let alone my neck of the woods. Please report back your impressions.
_________________________
Kawai VPC1, Pianoteq, Galaxy Vintage D

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#2080301 - 05/10/13 11:55 AM Re: Kawai CA95 keyboard action vs. others [Re: Taylorius]
takura Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 05/05/13
Posts: 13
Loc: Japan
Generally I am not keen about reviving an old thread, but, I went shopping for a new DP recently and had the time to play several CA95 and CA65 in several piano shops. Before touching them, I wasn't able to really understand this thread, but playing the CA95/65 as well as playing with the Kawai key action model displayed in the store (consisting of 2 white and a black key together with all the action components), and comparing them to other DPs and APs nearby, I think I understood what this is about. So, I hope to be able to provide a bit more clarification to future readers of this thread:

(1) The "keys seemed to take forever to rebound after playing a note"-effect mentioned by the OP occured on all CA95/65 I played as well as with the key action model. I believe that it's not just a production quality issue affecting only a few units, it probably has been designed to be this way: Once you release a key, it doesn't immediately snap back to the original position, but wobbles around for a short time. I have not seen this effect on acoustic pianos I have played recently, and not on most other DP's as well. My old Kawai MP9000 doesn't do this either.

(2) This does not mean that you can't play quick repetitions on the CA95/65. Just hit the still wobbling keys and they will sound as they should.

(3) But, the wobbling is real and visible and can be felt when playing the keys in quick repetitions, as well as felt as slight vibrations when playing keys close to still wobbling keys. Some might not care, while some might find this annoying. (I did.)

(4) The reason for this wobbling: When observing the key action model, it seemed that the hammer is "hitting back" on the key, causing the key to wobble, and the whole system to require a short time until coming to a complete halt. When observing Yamaha NU-1's upright piano action in the transparent demo model in the piano shop I went to, it seemed that it's "real" upright action is designed to make this impossible. I assume it is similar for Grand Piano actions, as well as the old Kawai DP action in my MP9000.

(5) So, this is neither about the length of the keys, nor about playing technique. (Well, okay, at least not to me, or, not from an engineering viewpoint.)

I suppose that for whatever reasons the Kawai engineers of the current actions (sadly) either don't care about this (I assume they have several metrics on which new designs are evaluated, and maybe this just isn't in their decision criteria?) or had other priorities when designing the action of the CA95/65.

So I guess future buyers just have to try for themselves to see if they notice this and find it annoying or not; I hope I have been able to clarify a bit what the op was about (unless I have completely misunderstood it :-)) and what to look for.


Edited by takura (05/10/13 11:58 AM)

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#2080328 - 05/10/13 01:02 PM Re: Kawai CA95 keyboard action vs. others [Re: Taylorius]
spanishbuddha Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/08/09
Posts: 2356
Loc: UK
Thanks takura, we love discussing key actions on the forum. smile

What about Rolands muffled sound compared to Kawai wink

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#2080562 - 05/11/13 12:55 AM Re: Kawai CA95 keyboard action vs. others [Re: takura]
Temperament Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/19/10
Posts: 424
Loc: Hun,EU
Originally Posted By: takura
Once you release a key, it doesn't immediately snap back to the original position, but wobbles around for a short time.

(3)...the wobbling is real and visible and can be felt when playing the keys in quick repetitions, as well as felt as slight vibrations when playing keys close to still wobbling keys.

(4) the hammer is "hitting back" on the key, causing the key to wobble, and the whole system to require a short time until coming to a complete halt.

I have also observed this previously: there is a thin felt on the key block to cushion hammer impact while falling back. And also speculated about the designing decisions behind. My thought to this, that as there is no fixed join between the Kawai's hammer part (unlike most other DP keyboards), this arrangement could help to gain hammer momentum (the rest of it after bouncing back on a flexible foam ) to accelerate the key block itself back to its initial resting position, while bringing the hammer to a smooth stop at the same time.

Perhaps this side effect you are describing was assumed by R&D either as a negligible one or even as desirable as it could be felt as an added vibration feedback to the finger, perceived perhaps as another added realism for a less experienced buyer?

[EDIT 2013.05.12] Key rebound emulation seems to be more a feature, s. following posts.

Stabilizing key return is perhaps one more target for future improvements GF actions (beside more pronounced escapement simulation and playing out of the jack feature.)

This same design is to be found on both RM3, RM3-II (VPC1, CA15) and GF (CA95, CA65, CS10). One question is how far is it discernable on the VPC1, e.g?

While I think this effect could have been present with RM3(II) as well it might have been mitigated there by the fact the key part behind fulcrum was longer with RM3 (relatively to hammer length and to the main key lever part, but even as measured length). The distance between fulcrum and the felt cushions is short.

GF:

RM3:


Would be interesting to see a real-life comparision GF/RM from one who definitely can identify this wobbling behavior.


Edited by Temperament (05/12/13 06:30 AM)
Edit Reason: key rebounce is a feature (no bug)

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#2080649 - 05/11/13 07:32 AM Re: Kawai CA95 keyboard action vs. others [Re: Temperament]
kapelli Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/26/12
Posts: 381
Loc: Poland
the wobbling you can se also hear about 4:18 and few seconds later

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0KZknBsQ0ZQ

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#2080761 - 05/11/13 11:19 AM Re: Kawai CA95 keyboard action vs. others [Re: Taylorius]
Clayman Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/07/13
Posts: 300
Loc: Prague, Czech Rep.
I wonder what the reason behind this thorough dissection really is... Just out of curiosity, I have looked up a video of playing on a Steinway grand piano and I believe the "wobbliness" is present there as well. You can see and judge for yourselves.

As has been stated before, there are 3 sensors for each key with the express purpose to allow for easier fast repetitions/legatos. Whether this particular type of key action works for a given player is at their own discretion but the GF action has clearly been designed to mimic the action of a GP and if the video above is any indication, this particular trait is not limited to just the GF action.
_________________________
-- Zbynek N.

Learning to play the piano since 06/2013 on a Kawai CA-95.

Music is what feelings sound like. ~ Author Unknown

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#2080768 - 05/11/13 11:39 AM Re: Kawai CA95 keyboard action vs. others [Re: Taylorius]
Barnie Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/13/13
Posts: 17
I am the happy owner of the CA-65, and yesterday I had the opportunity to play several different Kawai grands including the SK-2. The "wobbliness" is very apparent on all of them as well as on the Steinways I played. So I guess it is a feature more than a fault. Actually I'm amazed how close the CA-65/95 action is on the real grand action.

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#2080866 - 05/11/13 01:59 PM Re: Kawai CA95 keyboard action vs. others [Re: Taylorius]
ando Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/10
Posts: 3572
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
Forget all this wobbliness talk. It's perfectly normal on a real piano. A key has mass and when struck, it has momentum. That momentum does not just disappear at the end of a stroke - it must be brought to rest via damping forces coming from the felts. There will always be a brief oscillation in the key while that energy is absorbed and the key is brought to rest.

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#2080880 - 05/11/13 02:47 PM Re: Kawai CA95 keyboard action vs. others [Re: Taylorius]
kapelli Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/26/12
Posts: 381
Loc: Poland
Wobbling is natural, however I think the question is the level of wobbling. And yes, each grand has it.

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#2080909 - 05/11/13 03:44 PM Re: Kawai CA95 keyboard action vs. others [Re: ando]
bennevis Online   content
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/10
Posts: 5107
Never thought about this before, but I've just checked on my V-Piano - yes, when playing staccato, the keys do wobble when they come up on sudden release.
_________________________
"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."

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#2080954 - 05/11/13 05:26 PM Re: Kawai CA95 keyboard action vs. others [Re: Taylorius]
Temperament Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/19/10
Posts: 424
Loc: Hun,EU
I had to conclude, that apparently no real CA95/65 owners have complained about wobbling keys yet. (Not even PV88 :-), or some people who traded in their CA95, some only to regret it later).

Reminds me a little on the birth of my first son. I was present at child delivery, and the first thing I could realise was some irregularities, deformities how his toes are grown, which I found a minor but lifelong affliction. The delivery nurse didn't seem to bother much - and my son is meanwhile 17 Years old and has no defects at all - at least with his toes not.

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