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#2142938 - 09/02/13 04:42 PM Did you expect this?
The Monkeys Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/13/12
Posts: 427
Loc: Vancouver BC
While we have one thread talking about the grand, let's see the other end of the spectrum.

Casio commercial for their sub $1000 digital piano:
http://youtu.be/u37Wb66CDTU
(fast forward to 2:20 if you are in a hurry)

It is a commercial of course, and to be fair, it didn't actually make any conclusion, although it obviously implied one.

The question is, while I am sure you can hear the differences, but did you expect this from an inexpensive digital?

Is today's digital a valid learning/practicing instrument?

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#2143022 - 09/02/13 06:55 PM Re: Did you expect this? [Re: The Monkeys]
rlinkt Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/08/12
Posts: 315
Loc: CA
You will get a lot of different opinions on this. IMHO, you will not develop the same technique on the two. My daughter played the first 3 years on a digital (Yamaha P140). Then we upgraded to an acoustic. I can see the difference playing on a real piano for the last year has made. I think its because a piano allows the player to control the nuances much better than a digital. I am not talking just key strike -- I am sure that a digital will respond to varying touch just as well. I think its the interaction of the parts of the system that allows a piano to produce music in a way that the digital simply does not -- and the player learns to interact with those subtle things in this instrument.

A friend of ours bought the Yamaha from us for their kid, and my daughter still gets to play it from time to time. The music sounds just sterile and un-inspiring on the digital. That lovely sound from the piano also inspires the player to do more.

Also to keep in mind that the recorded sound is not a good indicator of what it sounds like in real life. You can process the sound to hide the differences. I don't know if Casio is playing games here to understate the differences -- but I expected a lot more dynamics in the Alla Turca passages than is evident from the grand. Like here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=geER3iQDO5k

I would expect the digital to fail at delivering that kind of dynamic range.


Edited by rlinkt (09/02/13 07:12 PM)

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#2143033 - 09/02/13 07:14 PM Re: Did you expect this? [Re: The Monkeys]
AZNpiano Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5500
Loc: Orange County, CA
Originally Posted By: The Monkeys
Is today's digital a valid learning/practicing instrument?

Yes, if the goal of having lessons is to tinker around with a toy and have fun with it. Kids can also learn to read notes. There's absolutely nothing wrong with that. A few school districts around here provide "piano lab" in schools for this same purpose.

But if you want your kid to play Mozart or Beethoven, then no. Not even close.
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member

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#2143038 - 09/02/13 07:19 PM Re: Did you expect this? [Re: AZNpiano]
Polyphonist Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/03/13
Posts: 7606
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
Originally Posted By: The Monkeys
Is today's digital a valid learning/practicing instrument?

Yes, if the goal of having lessons is to tinker around with a toy and have fun with it. Kids can also learn to read notes. There's absolutely nothing wrong with that. A few school districts around here provide "piano lab" in schools for this same purpose.

But if you want your kid to play Mozart or Beethoven, then no. Not even close.

Completely agreed. The sound of a digital is wimpy and muffled, and the action feels lethargic. It is impossible to produce power or beauty on these "pianos."
_________________________
Regards,

Polyphonist

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#2143451 - 09/03/13 01:43 PM Re: Did you expect this? [Re: AZNpiano]
The Monkeys Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/13/12
Posts: 427
Loc: Vancouver BC
Originally Posted By: AZNpiano

But if you want your kid to play Mozart or Beethoven, then no. Not even close.


In the video, they were playing Mozart....

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#2143458 - 09/03/13 01:54 PM Re: Did you expect this? [Re: The Monkeys]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11706
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: The Monkeys
Originally Posted By: AZNpiano

But if you want your kid to play Mozart or Beethoven, then no. Not even close.


In the video, they were playing Mozart....

Did you listen to the version provided by rlinkt?

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#2143478 - 09/03/13 02:32 PM Re: Did you expect this? [Re: keystring]
The Monkeys Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/13/12
Posts: 427
Loc: Vancouver BC
I did, and we all know nothing beats Steinway, under the hands of a master, OK, Fazioli fan boys might argue, but that is not the point.

Not saying a $800 digital is a $20,000+ grand equivalent.

A better comparison is with a $3,000 used upright that many of the parents would buy for their 7 year olds.

Did you hear something obviously wrong in the CASIO promotion video? Or let me ask the question another way: Is there any truth in it?

Keep in mind, the digital in the promotion is the one of the least expensive digital on the market today.

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#2143488 - 09/03/13 02:48 PM Re: Did you expect this? [Re: The Monkeys]
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7382
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Perhaps the question ought to be phrased somewhat differently. Can a beginner rise to the ranks of artist using only a keyboard as a learning tool?

It's fairly well understood that a master can make any instrument sound its best, whereas a beginner cannot make a magnificent instrument sound great.
_________________________
"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA

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#2143490 - 09/03/13 02:54 PM Re: Did you expect this? [Re: John v.d.Brook]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11706
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: John v.d.Brook
Perhaps the question ought to be phrased somewhat differently. Can a beginner rise to the ranks of artist using only a keyboard as a learning tool?

It's fairly well understood that a master can make any instrument sound its best, whereas a beginner cannot make a magnificent instrument sound great.

When you are a student, the interest should not be in what you can make sound great, but in what you can learn. For a beginner to rise to the ranks of an artist he needs two things: an instrument, and a decent teacher. If one had to choose between a poor instrument and an excellent teacher, or an excellent instrument and a horrible teacher, my choice would always be the former. In an ideal world it would be both.

There is also the matter of which piece is chosen for such a demonstration, and then how the piece is played. And that is clear in that particular demo.

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#2143492 - 09/03/13 03:00 PM Re: Did you expect this? [Re: John v.d.Brook]
The Monkeys Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/13/12
Posts: 427
Loc: Vancouver BC
Originally Posted By: John v.d.Brook
Perhaps the question ought to be phrased somewhat differently. Can a beginner rise to the ranks of artist using only a keyboard as a learning tool?


OK, ideally, we want to start a kid on a good grand. When that is not an option, the question is:

If we start a beginner on a digital, are we giving the student a significant deficit comparing to the ones starting on a $3,000 upright, that prevents them to rise to the ranks of artist.

By the way, did you noticed the digital invasion? If you have not seen it, just visit a music store around you, or a piano dealer that also sells Fazioli

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#2143496 - 09/03/13 03:17 PM Re: Did you expect this? [Re: keystring]
The Monkeys Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/13/12
Posts: 427
Loc: Vancouver BC
Originally Posted By: keystring

There is also the matter of which piece is chosen for such a demonstration, and then how the piece is played. And that is clear in that particular demo.


What is clear?
What strength you think they wanted to emphasize?
And what shortcoming they were trying to hide?

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#2143504 - 09/03/13 03:48 PM Re: Did you expect this? [Re: keystring]
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7382
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Originally Posted By: keystring
Originally Posted By: John v.d.Brook
Perhaps the question ought to be phrased somewhat differently. Can a beginner rise to the ranks of artist using only a keyboard as a learning tool?

It's fairly well understood that a master can make any instrument sound its best, whereas a beginner cannot make a magnificent instrument sound great.

When you are a student, the interest should not be in what you can make sound great, but in what you can learn. For a beginner to rise to the ranks of an artist he needs two things: an instrument, and a decent teacher. If one had to choose between a poor instrument and an excellent teacher, or an excellent instrument and a horrible teacher, my choice would always be the former. In an ideal world it would be both.

There is also the matter of which piece is chosen for such a demonstration, and then how the piece is played. And that is clear in that particular demo.


Maybe we should compromise and use a mediocre piano and mediocre teacher!
_________________________
"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA

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#2143513 - 09/03/13 04:12 PM Re: Did you expect this? [Re: The Monkeys]
TimR Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3206
Loc: Virginia, USA
What percentage of piano students eventually graduate to a grand? I'd guess less than 1%.

Are the 99% who will not get to that classical artist level severely limited by using the digital?

What percentage of teachers teach on a grand? For traveling teachers, I'd guess that number approaches zero. <g> My teachers and my children's teachers taught on small acoustics, significantly worse than my digital.

If there are techniques that only work well on a grand, and we have a student that may develop a lifelong love for the piano but never own one, does it even make sense to teach them?
_________________________
gotta go practice

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#2143516 - 09/03/13 04:23 PM Re: Did you expect this? [Re: John v.d.Brook]
laguna_greg Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/02/13
Posts: 1382
Loc: guess where in CA and WA
Originally Posted By: John v.d.Brook
Perhaps the question ought to be phrased somewhat differently. Can a beginner rise to the ranks of artist using only a keyboard as a learning tool?



That would be a resounding "no", John. The student, no matter who they are or what they bring to the able, will be forced to limit their expression and technical abilities to whatever their "instrument" will allow. The limitations of these new hybrid keyboards are pronounced compared to an acoustic piano of any kind or condition. As such a student progresses through the literature, those limitations in technique and expression will become more and more apparent.

And having said that, I don't think there's anything wrong with a beginning student using an electronic keyboard for the first year or two of study. After that though, an acoustic instrument becomes essential to further technical development.
_________________________
Laguna Greg

1919 Mason & Hamlin AA
1931 Bechstein C - now sold
http://www.triangleassociates-us.com/about_us (my day job)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dorothy_Taubman (a recent article I wrote about one of my teachers)

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#2143520 - 09/03/13 04:26 PM Re: Did you expect this? [Re: TimR]
laguna_greg Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/02/13
Posts: 1382
Loc: guess where in CA and WA
Originally Posted By: TimR

If there are techniques that only work well on a grand, and we have a student that may develop a lifelong love for the piano but never own one, does it even make sense to teach them?


Legato and staccato are both techniques that are not suited to the electronic action on a keyboard. Should we not teach them, then?
_________________________
Laguna Greg

1919 Mason & Hamlin AA
1931 Bechstein C - now sold
http://www.triangleassociates-us.com/about_us (my day job)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dorothy_Taubman (a recent article I wrote about one of my teachers)

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#2143522 - 09/03/13 04:29 PM Re: Did you expect this? [Re: The Monkeys]
laguna_greg Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/02/13
Posts: 1382
Loc: guess where in CA and WA
Originally Posted By: The Monkeys

...By the way, did you noticed the digital invasion? If you have not seen it, just visit a music store around you, or a piano dealer that also sells Fazioli


This is only a good or desirable thing to people who don't know any better.
_________________________
Laguna Greg

1919 Mason & Hamlin AA
1931 Bechstein C - now sold
http://www.triangleassociates-us.com/about_us (my day job)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dorothy_Taubman (a recent article I wrote about one of my teachers)

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#2143527 - 09/03/13 04:41 PM Re: Did you expect this? [Re: John v.d.Brook]
The Monkeys Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/13/12
Posts: 427
Loc: Vancouver BC
Originally Posted By: John v.d.Brook

It's fairly well understood that a master can make any instrument sound its best, whereas a beginner cannot make a magnificent instrument sound great.


Sorry, I don't know where this argument leads to.

If a beginner cannot make a magnificent instrument sound great, do we need to give the magnificent instrument to the beginner or not?

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#2143528 - 09/03/13 04:44 PM Re: Did you expect this? [Re: The Monkeys]
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7382
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
It's not an argument, rather a statement of fact.
_________________________
"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA

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#2143533 - 09/03/13 04:51 PM Re: Did you expect this? [Re: laguna_greg]
The Monkeys Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/13/12
Posts: 427
Loc: Vancouver BC
Originally Posted By: laguna_greg

Legato and staccato are both techniques that are not suited to the electronic action on a keyboard.


Seriously? So you didn't hear any staccato in the promotion video?
We are talking boards $800 and up, the ones with 3 pedals.


Edited by The Monkeys (09/03/13 04:54 PM)

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#2143539 - 09/03/13 05:05 PM Re: Did you expect this? [Re: laguna_greg]
The Monkeys Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/13/12
Posts: 427
Loc: Vancouver BC
Originally Posted By: laguna_greg
Originally Posted By: John v.d.Brook
Perhaps the question ought to be phrased somewhat differently. Can a beginner rise to the ranks of artist using only a keyboard as a learning tool?

That would be a resounding "no", John. The student, no matter who they are or what they bring to the able, will be forced to limit their expression and technical abilities to whatever their "instrument" will allow. The limitations of these new hybrid keyboards are pronounced compared to an acoustic piano of any kind or condition. As such a student progresses through the literature, those limitations in technique and expression will become more and more apparent.


This is the key point I guess.

From the promotion video, sound quality aside, what was wrong with the digital? What essential techniques were not no shown and cannot be performed on the digital?

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#2143542 - 09/03/13 05:08 PM Re: Did you expect this? [Re: laguna_greg]
The Monkeys Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/13/12
Posts: 427
Loc: Vancouver BC
Originally Posted By: laguna_greg
Originally Posted By: The Monkeys

...By the way, did you noticed the digital invasion? If you have not seen it, just visit a music store around you, or a piano dealer that also sells Fazioli


This is only a good or desirable thing to people who don't know any better.


Not saying it is good or bad, rather a statement of fact.

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#2143552 - 09/03/13 05:40 PM Re: Did you expect this? [Re: The Monkeys]
Whizbang Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/27/12
Posts: 765
Originally Posted By: The Monkeys
Did you hear something obviously wrong in the CASIO promotion video? Or let me ask the question another way: Is there any truth in it?


The problem is that there's no way to know. From the room, to the mic placement, to the audio capture, to the post-audio sweetening, there are dozens of places where your audio engineer could step in and tweak things. My impression from the commercial was "boy, they're putting a lot of room resonance into that". In modern media--and my partner does this sort of thing--there is literally nothing professionally prepared that doesn't undergo post-recording shaping. In a commercial touting the sound quality of digitals versus acoustics? Literally zero chance that the sound hasn't been quadruple-checked to try to convey the appropriate narrative. (It'd be great to have an off-the-record chat with one of the jaded audio engineers. They're always jaded.)

I'm by no means a digital opponent, just more of a skeptic about this commercial. stumbler's ABF Recital performance of Villa-Lobos on his high end Roland *really* surprised me in a good way, but equally clearly many of the other ABF recordings were done on digitals. OTOH, a directly-recorded decent digital is a clearly better experience than a sour acoustic in a sub-par environment or with poor recording equipment or placement.

There's another issue around touch and responsiveness that is probably even more subjective (and likely only to afflict more accomplished players).

So on that note, of the acoustic advocates here, what do folks think of the very high-end Roland that's actually including a faux-piano action inside?
_________________________
Whizbang
amateur ragtime pianist

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#2143556 - 09/03/13 05:51 PM Re: Did you expect this? [Re: The Monkeys]
ezpiano.org Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/10/11
Posts: 1017
Loc: Irvine, CA
Originally Posted By: Tim
What percentage of teachers teach on a grand? For traveling teachers, I'd guess that number approaches zero.


I teach only at my studio with a grand piano. I have only two students that I travel to their house with a lot of extra fee and both of them has grand piano at home.

First student has been with me a long time. Second student just sign up last month. When father called me on the phone, he mention that he wanted someone travel to his house. I ask if he has grand piano at home and also explain that I would only teach on grand piano because it is my standard.

Fortunately he said he has grand piano at home, so, I end up enroll my second traveling student on the top of my office students......

So, Tim, your guess is not correct at least in my eyes.
_________________________
http://ezpiano.org
Piano lessons in Irvine, CA
Watch the introduction video on YouTube
@ http://bit.ly/Ready123

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#2143566 - 09/03/13 06:11 PM Re: Did you expect this? [Re: The Monkeys]
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7382
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Originally Posted By: The Monkeys
Originally Posted By: laguna_greg
Originally Posted By: John v.d.Brook
Perhaps the question ought to be phrased somewhat differently. Can a beginner rise to the ranks of artist using only a keyboard as a learning tool?

That would be a resounding "no", John. The student, no matter who they are or what they bring to the able, will be forced to limit their expression and technical abilities to whatever their "instrument" will allow. The limitations of these new hybrid keyboards are pronounced compared to an acoustic piano of any kind or condition. As such a student progresses through the literature, those limitations in technique and expression will become more and more apparent.


This is the key point I guess.

From the promotion video, sound quality aside, what was wrong with the digital? What essential techniques were not no shown and cannot be performed on the digital?

To me, it's not a question of "What's wrong" rather a question of what can musical players do on a piano that cannot be done on a keyboard? Take staccato for instance. There are several difference staccato touches, each having a defining sound. A staccato performed with a stiff finger, bouncing from the wrist, will have a more percussive sound for a number of reasons. A staccato performed with a finger swipe will have a softer, mushier sound. Just two examples. I don't know how well a keyboard can emulate or differentiate this. For one thing, a piano's soundboard picks up the crash of the key against the key bed, even with a felt washer in place, and adds a percussive sound to the tone of the string. I'm not sure how a keyboard would be able to differentiate between the two touches.
_________________________
"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA

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#2143567 - 09/03/13 06:11 PM Re: Did you expect this? [Re: Whizbang]
The Monkeys Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/13/12
Posts: 427
Loc: Vancouver BC
Originally Posted By: Whizbang
In modern media--and my partner does this sort of thing--there is literally nothing professionally prepared that doesn't undergo post-recording shaping.


True but the focus is not how good the digital sounds, you can adjust some subtle resonate, but you can not twist a staccato to a legato.

The question is : is it a valid learning/practising instrument? Can one develop essential piano skills on a digital to a reasonable level without jeopardizing the students future development?

We know it can be used to teach note reading, rhythm etc, but can it be used to development techniques like Staccato, Legato, Crescendo, Decrescendo, Marcato, Tenuto, Maestoso at least to some degree?

The reason I ask is, it seems, in the promotion video, a lot of techniques and expressions are somehow demonstrated.

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#2143589 - 09/03/13 06:57 PM Re: Did you expect this? [Re: TimR]
Polyphonist Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/03/13
Posts: 7606
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: TimR
What percentage of piano students eventually graduate to a grand? I'd guess less than 1%.

Are the 99% who will not get to that classical artist level severely limited by using the digital?

What percentage of teachers teach on a grand? For traveling teachers, I'd guess that number approaches zero. <g> My teachers and my children's teachers taught on small acoustics, significantly worse than my digital.

If there are techniques that only work well on a grand, and we have a student that may develop a lifelong love for the piano but never own one, does it even make sense to teach them?

I learned on a grand from the beginning. I would not practice or teach on anything other than a grand, and neither would the vast majority of my colleagues.
_________________________
Regards,

Polyphonist

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#2143597 - 09/03/13 07:07 PM Re: Did you expect this? [Re: Polyphonist]
currawong Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 5936
Loc: Down Under
Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
I learned on a grand from the beginning. I would not practice or teach on anything other than a grand, and neither would the vast majority of my colleagues.
Then you should be very grateful for the circumstances of your life which allowed you this. Many many people cannot and will never be able to afford a grand piano, however much they want it. Talking objectively about the capabilities of digital pianos and the action of grand pianos is one thing. Being dismissive of those who do not have your advantages is another.
_________________________
Du holde Kunst...

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#2143606 - 09/03/13 07:18 PM Re: Did you expect this? [Re: Polyphonist]
currawong Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 5936
Loc: Down Under
Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
I would not practice ... on anything other than a grand
I certainly would, if it was my only option!
_________________________
Du holde Kunst...

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#2143620 - 09/03/13 07:33 PM Re: Did you expect this? [Re: currawong]
The Monkeys Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/13/12
Posts: 427
Loc: Vancouver BC
Originally Posted By: currawong
Talking objectively about the capabilities of digital pianos and the action of grand pianos is one thing. Being dismissive of those who do not have your advantages is another.


Thank you currawong!

And once again, No one is here to compare a $800 digital to a $20,000+ grand, We know there is a 25+ times difference (at least money wise). If a grand is the only viable option, then you can cut the piano student's population by 90%, or more. Maybe this is actually what you want but that is another story.

The question is how it compares to a used upright that many parents would get for their 7 year old, as many holds the following belief:

Originally Posted By: laguna_greg
The limitations of these new hybrid keyboards are pronounced compared to an acoustic piano of any kind or condition.



Edited by The Monkeys (09/03/13 07:40 PM)

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#2143626 - 09/03/13 07:38 PM Re: Did you expect this? [Re: The Monkeys]
Polyphonist Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/03/13
Posts: 7606
Loc: New York City
And my opinion has not changed; namely, that ANY acoustic is better than a digital as long as the action works. It may not sound as good immediately, but at least you will be able to learn actual piano technique, instead of fake piano technique.
_________________________
Regards,

Polyphonist

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