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#212848 - 09/26/06 10:24 PM another digital vs acoustic piano subject...
piano_shopper_001 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/26/06
Posts: 20
Loc: salisbuty, md
First and foremost, thank you for hosting this forum. Having read through some of the previous "digital vs acoustic piano" topics I will start by listing my specifics:

1) my daugther is 9 and has been taking lessons for 2 years and making moderate progress. At home we have a Casio CTK-731 (e.g. "toy"). Her piano teacher has recommended she move up to an acoustic. Her teacher already expressed her reservations with her practicing/developing on a digital.

2) I (her Father) casually play guitar (acoustic and electric)and a little paino/keyboard. I bought the Casio primarily to play Midi files and then play along either on the keyboard or guitar. Not so relevant, but I have an interest here as well.

3) My budget is in the $2000 to $3000 range.

4) Our current expectations are not for our daughter to be a professional musician (although that could happen) but for her to get good enough at playing to really enjoy playing. I do not see anywhere in the near future where she will take a rigid classical approach. She likes a broad range of music.

5) With that, I can hear everyone saying "get a digital"! (or at least all the salespeople I have talked to). My fear is that I set her down the course of never truley connecting with her instrument or getting the most of playing because I made the disasterous decision of not getting an acoustic (or so all the teachers tell me). Most of the advice I hear is that she will never get the proper touch.

6) BTW, we are going to look at a used Yamaha T116 SE for $2300 from a private owner that bought it new a couple years ago for her children to play on. They never showed interest and so she is selling. I know it's a good deal pricewise but if we did decide to go acoustic are there clearly better choices in our budget range.

7) Please Advise.

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#212849 - 09/26/06 10:29 PM Re: another digital vs acoustic piano subject...
MartinJ. Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/12/05
Posts: 316
Loc: Iowa
We started on a digital and then moved to an acoustic.

Digital pro: keeps interest because of gadgetry; sounds nice; can wear headphones.

Digital con: cannot simulate dynamics for playing. Good probably through Level B.

Acoustic pro: sounds nice; can learn loud and soft dynamics

Acoustic con: confusion when buying; tuning.

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#212850 - 09/26/06 10:33 PM Re: another digital vs acoustic piano subject...
CTPianotech Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/06/06
Posts: 1473
Loc: CT
1) Well you have to start somewhere, fortunately she still seems to have an interest, so here we are!

2) MIDI is fun!! Do you have any favorite sites for getting MIDI files? (particularly stuff w/piano)

3) Enough to get a good entry level instrument in most areas

4) If/when she outgrows this piano, consider that a 'good' problem and deal with that then!

5) You already have digital. Keep that for the fun stuff, and get a decent piano + enjoy both

6) If all checks out well, this sounds reasonable. Check with local dealers to see what else, if anything may be available in your area.

7) Please see above
_________________________
Rich Lindahl
Piano Restorations in Central CT
D-C installations, Player-Piano installations/service
Ritmuller/Pearl River

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#212851 - 09/26/06 11:56 PM Re: another digital vs acoustic piano subject...
laney Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/22/06
Posts: 120
Loc: earth
I teach piano lessons to a few kids who have digital pianos. I notive that when they play my acoustic piano, most of them stiffen up, because they are not used to the acoustic action. I waste time getting them to relax their wrists/fingers so that we can get on with the playing without them hurting themselves. I have friends who have noticed the same thing. One friend calls it "digital wrist" as though it is a doctor-diagnosable problem.

I say save your daughter's wrists and get an acoustic!!

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#212852 - 09/26/06 11:59 PM Re: another digital vs acoustic piano subject...
laney Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/22/06
Posts: 120
Loc: earth
PS I, personally, like Kawai better than Yamaha, and would advocate at least giving one a try... Play all the pianos you can find in your price range. Even if you can only play a few chords, you'll hear and feel some of the differences. It often just comes down to personal preference.

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#212853 - 09/27/06 01:35 AM Re: another digital vs acoustic piano subject...
Grandpianoman Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/12/05
Posts: 2247
Loc: Portland, Oregon
I just found a used Yamaha GranTouch Digital Disklaiver, model DGT2IIXG. I must say I am very impressed with the feel of the action. It is basically a Yamaha acoustic grand action, without the hammers. The sound is a sampled 9ft Yamaha Grand, and is really good. If you can find one of those, that would be a good choice for a digital. plus it has the Disklavier record and playback system.

Here is an earlier model that was for sale on Ebay.

http://cgi.ebay.com/Yamaha-GranTouch-Dig...1QQcmdZViewItem

It does not have the disklavier, but does have the grand action. Click on the links and you can see the action. http://www.telesupport.nl/wave/yamaha/grantouch.htm

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#212854 - 09/27/06 07:22 AM Re: another digital vs acoustic piano subject...
piano_shopper_001 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/26/06
Posts: 20
Loc: salisbuty, md
Thanks for all the fedback so far. A few more responses that answer the question: "what would you advise for our budget?", would greatly be appreciated.

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#212855 - 09/27/06 08:52 AM Re: another digital vs acoustic piano subject...
TX-Dennis Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/09/05
Posts: 4126
Loc: Texas
If you are looking for new you will want to try out Pearl River, Samick, DH Baldwin, Hamilton, the lowest priced Kawai upright, Nordiska, Kohler & Campbell. These should all be available for under $3k at least in the smaller sizes and plainer cases. The bargain of the group is probably DH Baldwin. It is essentially a small Baldwin in a plain cabinet, and it's the only piano in your price range that's made in the U.S. The others in this price range will be Chinese and Indonesian made instruments. All of these pianos have decent tone and touch for the price. The best sounding upright I've played was a Petrof, but it is well over your price range. Play as many as you can or get some one to play them for you (perhaps the salesmen) and buy whichever sounds best to you. I think your daughter will be able to learn and grow on any of them.

A used Yamaha is not a bad choice either. It is a reliable well made instrument. I don't like the tone of most Yamahas, particularly the ones I could afford, but that is a personal preference, and your perception may be quite different.
_________________________
Dennis

flickr


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#212856 - 09/27/06 09:06 AM Re: another digital vs acoustic piano subject...
markb Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/29/04
Posts: 2593
Loc: Maryland
Hi piano_shopper. You might want to post the question in the Digitial Piano forum, too, for some more perspectives and options.
_________________________
markb--The Count of Casio

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#212857 - 09/27/06 09:26 AM Re: another digital vs acoustic piano subject...
Jan-Erik Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/18/05
Posts: 1302
Loc: Finland
A decent digital have a better action (better and more even response, faster repetition etc) than many cheap uprights. Unless you are a concert level pianist you can well develop your touch with such a digital, not to speak about the gran touch digitals!

When learning new pieces, the main issue is to learn to hit the right key at the right moment with the right velocity. I am regularly exercising on digitals (Yamaha P80 and Kawai ES 3), although I own a Bechstein grand and a Förster upright.

But the use of the sustain pedal is more complicated on an acoustic, it is much more than on-off, there is the whole spectrum of resonance to cope with.

The sound of an acoustic is very personal and perfectly imperfect. And with the use of the sustain pedal you get nuances you will never experince on a digital. But that is a bigger issue in classical music than in popular.

It can be worth while entering the accoustic world if your daughter is interested in classic music. Buy an upright with a light and nice and good tuning stability. Reserve money for the maintenance of the piano.

Later you can upgrade your Casio toy to e. g. a Casio digital piano or a Kawai ES 3. They are cheap and can give you and you daughter much joy, as the can be easily moved from place to place, keep the tuning, and offer the possibility of silent playing. But they need electricity.

Remember: A digital piano and a keyborad is two different things.

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#212858 - 09/27/06 09:37 AM Re: another digital vs acoustic piano subject...
apple* Offline


Registered: 01/01/03
Posts: 19862
Loc: Kansas
definitely believe in acoustic pianos.

do not be afraid of used. i do not recommend a light touch.. many kids (or adults) who are used to playing on a digital think they prefer a light touch. playing the piano is a vigorous activity.

i really like the yamaha u series if you could find a used one in good condition. When playing them travel up the key board slowly and softly, playing each note (or have your daughter do this) trying to find irregularities, sticking keys or notes that do not sound when played softly. It would be best if you could have a pianist confirm your choices since your daughter is probably not familiar with the sustain pedal. There should be a fine range of pianos to suit your needs if you are near a fairly large metropolitan area. If buying from a dealer, ask about tradein policy and warranty.

the yamaha you are considering might be an excellent piano for you. I play some older yamahas (a U3 and an Everett - and both are solid, reliable instruments)

if you happen across a used Charles Walter console.. check it out.
_________________________
accompanist/organist.. a non-MTNA teacher to a few

love and peace, Õun (apple in Estonian)

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#212859 - 09/27/06 09:43 AM Re: another digital vs acoustic piano subject...
apple* Offline


Registered: 01/01/03
Posts: 19862
Loc: Kansas
here's some info on the T116 SE - i notice it has a mute pedal - good for late nite practice

right here
_________________________
accompanist/organist.. a non-MTNA teacher to a few

love and peace, Õun (apple in Estonian)

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#212860 - 09/27/06 09:48 AM Re: another digital vs acoustic piano subject...
Jan-Erik Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/18/05
Posts: 1302
Loc: Finland
[QUOTE]Originally posted by TX-Dennis:
[
A used Yamaha is not a bad choice either. It is a reliable well made instrument.

- - - -

I wonder which pianos nowadays are considered not reliable, bad quality?

I agree that Yamahas have good actions. But that concerns modern Kawais as well.

Actions can be regulated if they are uneven. Hammers can be voiced. Most important is the tuning stability. If the piano does not keep in tune, it will cost you a lot.

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#212861 - 09/27/06 09:46 PM Re: another digital vs acoustic piano subject...
Craigen Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/01/05
Posts: 1815
Loc: West Coast
T116 is a decent instrument for beginners. Have a tech check it out for you. The price is very fare.

I would also recommend Yamaha CLP230 or CLP240 in your price range. More and more teachers are embracing high end digitals.
_________________________
Piano Technician, member Piano Technicians Guild.

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#212862 - 09/28/06 03:11 AM Re: another digital vs acoustic piano subject...
Jan-Erik Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/18/05
Posts: 1302
Loc: Finland
 Quote:
Originally posted by apple*:
definitely believe in acoustic pianos.

I do not recommend a light touch.. many kids (or adults) who are used to playing on a digital think they prefer a light touch. playing the piano is a vigorous activity.


[/b]
Many experienced pianists prefer a light touch. I myself have played for over 50 years. Most pianos are middle-heavy. But there are those that have been very awkward to play on.

Pianissimo playing when the touch is heavy can be very tricky. And children for sure will hate the piano, because they meet with difficulties in getting nuances.

I do not believe in building up finger strength on heavy actions

As playing is a dynamic process, measuring the key weight does not tell the whole truth. Older pianos have often a lighter touch, then in the 60-ties many pianos were built with heavier touch but now the trend is again back to light touch.

If a heavy touch comes from sticky keys and a lot of friction losses there is no benefit from it, only drawbacks. If it is because of heavy hammers it might be agreeable on a big concert grand, where you need big sound volume.

Of course an action must feel firm and not sloppy.

Normally the differences are small in tier 1 instrumnets, but cheap, samll uprights can offer unpleasant surprises. I think Yamaha and Kawai are in this respect safe choises - their actions are not too heavy. And Yamahas digitals have a normal action feeling.

It is by the way a pity that the touch is far from standardised. There is enough troubles for a pianist in adapting to a new piano with its sound and sustain characters. And you cannot carry your own piano with you...

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#212863 - 09/28/06 07:02 AM Re: another digital vs acoustic piano subject...
Kenny Blankenship Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/25/05
Posts: 659
Loc: Northeast
If you are going to buy a digital, get the Yamaha, both K & Y are close for action, sound, value, etc. but the Yam will get you a better resale value down the road when you trade up. The Clavinova tm has more presence in the market place.
_________________________
Kenny Blankenship
Selling anything anyone will buy as the "Walmartizisation of the industry continues. (Still making a fair living and still having clients like me)

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#212864 - 09/28/06 10:40 PM Re: another digital vs acoustic piano subject...
dumdumdiddle Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/16/06
Posts: 1250
Loc: California
As a piano teacher, I get this question all the time (should I buy a digital or acoustic?). This is what I tell parents:

To get a really nice acoustic piano you are going to have to spend some serious $$. Grandma's piano that you inherited just isn't going to cut it; neither will anything in the $1000-range that you find in the newspaper. And honestly, some of the acoustic pianos out there are IMO no better than a 'keyboard toy'. A nice Yamaha or Kawai is going to cost more than the $2000. My recommendation would be a Yamaha clavinova. The keys are going to have the weight necessary to develop good technique. You can get a clavinova that has only 12 voices and no other bells and whistles, or you can spend a bit more and get one with all the fun sounds, rhythms, and a floppy disk drive (many piano methods now have floppy disks that go along with each book. Kids can play their simple little song with a wonderful orchestral background - what a motivator!).
_________________________
Music School Owner
Early Childhood Music Teacher/Group Piano Teacher/Private Piano Teacher
Member of MTAC and Guild

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#212865 - 09/29/06 12:04 PM Re: another digital vs acoustic piano subject...
piano_shopper_001 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/26/06
Posts: 20
Loc: salisbuty, md
Thanks to all for the feedback so far. I posted the same topic over in the Digital Piano Forum and got slighlty different biases (as expected). For those who were trying to appeal to my sensitivities of playing a "real" musical instrument, this is probably more apllicable to myself as I am a collector and player of vintage electric guitars. However, for my 9 year old daughter I would say this will probably not be such a big factor for the next 3-5 years. I think she will get more attached to the flexibility in sounds and technology of the digital instrument, although in full fairness, a vibrating speaker cone will never sound (or effect the soul) like a vibrating string. Some have recommended the Clavinova but my requirements are: if it's going to be digital, I want to buy it new, and $3000 is max! One other observation, I did try a $700 digital piano at Sam's club. It felt like the key "popped" down and "snapped" back. Not what I have experienced on acoustic piano's. I this just the result of a low end digital or will this always be the case. As before, please recommend acoustic or digital (and what mfg and mfg model) in the $2000 to $3000 range. Great Thanks!

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#212866 - 09/29/06 01:21 PM Re: another digital vs acoustic piano subject...
dumdumdiddle Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/16/06
Posts: 1250
Loc: California
You can definitely buy an entry-level Clavinova for under $3000; bells and whistles will be more, but still worth checking out.
_________________________
Music School Owner
Early Childhood Music Teacher/Group Piano Teacher/Private Piano Teacher
Member of MTAC and Guild

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#212867 - 09/29/06 01:49 PM Re: another digital vs acoustic piano subject...
piano cellar Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/28/06
Posts: 147
Loc: Atlanta, GA
Last time I checked, DH Baldwins were being made in Indonesia.. Only the high end Baldwin grands are still made in the US, correct? For budget -- I would try to go up as much as you possibly can. I always tell the parents of my students to buy the most piano they can possibly afford. The quality differences can be fairly substantial for that extra $1000.00. If $3K is the top of you budget, then find the best $3K piano that you can, and be patient in finding it! Don't buy the first one that you see in other words...

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#212868 - 09/29/06 01:51 PM Re: another digital vs acoustic piano subject...
piano cellar Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/28/06
Posts: 147
Loc: Atlanta, GA
One more thing -- do not buy another digital! At some point, your child's teacher is pretty much going to insist on an acoustic piano, and you would have again invested in something that you really can't trade in. If your funds were endless, then sure, go for a digital - but for any of us normal people, we want to maxmize our funds and make a true investment. Any acoustic piano will still be worth something in 25 years, whereas a digital in just a few years is pretty much worthless in value- much like a computer depreciates because it is no longer the "latest, greatest" model.

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#212869 - 09/29/06 03:33 PM Re: another digital vs acoustic piano subject...
Climber Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/16/06
Posts: 224
Loc: Colorado
I'd agree with Apple that a Charles Walter upright is an excellent piano. They are rare to find used but worth the search.

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#212870 - 09/30/06 01:17 AM Re: another digital vs acoustic piano subject...
MA Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/27/06
Posts: 302
Loc: San Francisco Bay Area
If you are still considering a good digital piano, take a look at Yamaha's YDP223, which sells for about $1,500. I bought it early this year to get my daughter started. Although I am upgrading to an acoustic, I am keeping the digital. It has served my daughter well.

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#212871 - 09/30/06 01:24 AM Re: another digital vs acoustic piano subject...
MA Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/27/06
Posts: 302
Loc: San Francisco Bay Area
I forgot to mention that I also bought a $600 Casio digital piano from Costco in the summer. Its sound and keys/actions are just like a toy electronic keyboard, and we hated it so much that we returned it after a few weeks.

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#212872 - 09/30/06 09:56 AM Re: another digital vs acoustic piano subject...
apple* Offline


Registered: 01/01/03
Posts: 19862
Loc: Kansas
accomplished musicians on acoustic pianos know how to shape each note... know how to let a chord ring with every note of that chord sounding at a different volume... know how to shape phrases and make them sound beautiful.. now how to let the melody or accompaniment, or rhythm or tempo determine how a piece should sound with a nuance and a variety simply not found on a digital.

An acoustic piano is a percussion instrument. A digital is not.

of course a digital can do many things an acoustic cannot and there are many advantages..

- apple, waiting for the day when digital piano music is available in stores.
_________________________
accompanist/organist.. a non-MTNA teacher to a few

love and peace, Õun (apple in Estonian)

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#212873 - 09/30/06 10:19 AM Re: another digital vs acoustic piano subject...
George K Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/20/04
Posts: 999
Loc: The Midwest
 Quote:
Originally posted by MA:
I forgot to mention that I also bought a $600 Casio digital piano from Costco in the summer. Its sound and keys/actions are just like a toy electronic keyboard, and we hated it so much that we returned it after a few weeks. [/b]
Just curious, was that the Previa 100 series?
_________________________

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#212874 - 09/30/06 12:27 PM Re: another digital vs acoustic piano subject...
MA Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/27/06
Posts: 302
Loc: San Francisco Bay Area
George K, it was a Casio Privia PX-500L.

I'd say a good $2k Yamaha digital piano can be good for up to intermediate level. After that, only a good acoustic grand can better it, especially in sound.

You can certainly upgrade to acoustic before that if you think your child will stick with playing or it's time to play duo.

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#212875 - 10/01/06 06:46 PM Re: another digital vs acoustic piano subject...
piano_shopper_001 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/26/06
Posts: 20
Loc: salisbuty, md
Ok, thanks for all the help. Assuming I go with a digital, what models out of the 3 mfg's would you recommend (in the $2000-$3000 range). My requirements in order of prefernce are:
1) authentic piano sound
2) touch/response
3) multiple voices and sound set (e.g. organ, strings, guitar, pads...)

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#212876 - 10/01/06 06:50 PM Re: another digital vs acoustic piano subject...
piano_shopper_001 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/26/06
Posts: 20
Loc: salisbuty, md
Sorry, the mfg's are Yamaha, Roland and Kawai

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#212877 - 10/02/06 02:30 AM Re: another digital vs acoustic piano subject...
MA Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/27/06
Posts: 302
Loc: San Francisco Bay Area
Visit a Yamaha dealer and check these models:

CLP230, CLP240 and CLP270

They all got Yamaha's GH3 keys/actions, which I believe are the best on any digital piano.

Unless you are an advanced pianist, it's hard to feel any difference if you closed your eyes and play it. It sounds just like Yamaha's concert grand.

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