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#2166042 - 10/14/13 12:31 PM Upright vs Grand?
findingnemo2010 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/17/09
Posts: 1521
I've never really played a grand I don't think. I own a digital and practice on an upright at lessons but my question is this. Is the feel or action very different between an upright and a grand or is it similar? Does it take more to press the keys down on a grand or is it easier?
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music to me is kind of like putting together pieces of a puzzle
i call it the paino because its where i put all my pain

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#2166050 - 10/14/13 12:56 PM Re: Upright vs Grand? [Re: findingnemo2010]
Morodiene Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 12236
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
The action of an upright is always different than that of a grand. In an upright, the strings are vertical and the hammers have to hit the strings from a different position, like when you are knocking on a door. In a grand, the strings are horizontal and the hammers lie underneath the strings and move up (toward the ceiling) to strike from below.

The action in a grand is much more efficient and accurate (for more technical details, you may want to post on the Piano Forum). Also, you can have longer strings on the grand, and the longer, the better quality sound you get - all other things being equal (well-regulated, in good working order, etc.).

As far as which is easier to play, that depends entirely on the instrument. Some makers tend to have heavier actions while others are lighter. I've played on some uprights with heavy action and some with very light actions, same goes for grands.
_________________________
private piano/voice teacher - full time
MTNA member
www.valeoconservatory.com
Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

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#2166057 - 10/14/13 01:04 PM Re: Upright vs Grand? [Re: findingnemo2010]
Whizbang Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/27/12
Posts: 822
Grands feel different from uprights, generally speaking. But there's more variation between pianos of the same class than between pianos of different classes.

The average grand action feels a little heavier than the average upright action. It's easier to control your dynamics on a grand and you can play repeated notes faster.
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Whizbang
amateur ragtime pianist

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#2166109 - 10/14/13 02:07 PM Re: Upright vs Grand? [Re: findingnemo2010]
4evrBeginR Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/27/09
Posts: 1607
Loc: California
At a very high level, the grand piano action has many advantages over the upright, but for a beginner, the differences is a bit over blown on these forums. I find playing trills and mordents a bit more effort on an upright. The action is a little less responsive (comparing brand new to brand new). Otherwise, you should have no issues getting pretty far with your studies on an upright. A new upright is still far better than any digital including the most expensive stuff to a beginner.
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Art is never finished, only abandoned. - da Vinci

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#2166154 - 10/14/13 03:20 PM Re: Upright vs Grand? [Re: findingnemo2010]
findingnemo2010 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/17/09
Posts: 1521
I just wanted to add I feel real let down lately that my playing is limited to my digital and that I am not learning on a real acoustic. I feel like it's taking away the value of it.
_________________________
music to me is kind of like putting together pieces of a puzzle
i call it the paino because its where i put all my pain

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#2166167 - 10/14/13 03:51 PM Re: Upright vs Grand? [Re: findingnemo2010]
4evrBeginR Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/27/09
Posts: 1607
Loc: California
Don't be. You can be very productive practicing on a digital even though they all sound very fake. A lot of progress could be made on a digital. If it is a digital or nothing at all, it is still possible to make a lot of progress on a digital.
To re-enforce proper technique, you need to practice at the digital as if it was an acoustic piano. It's helpful to have someone show you exactly how to practice, the techniques required to make different kinds of sounds, and if possible play at least once or twice a week on a real piano, like lessons.

Just because you have an acoustic doesn't automatically translate into better skills. My teacher has many students learning on a Yamaha P85. You would be surprised how much could be done with that lowly device given proper instruction and weekly re-enforced on a teacher's grand piano. Ideally you should have a good practice piano and a good teacher, but if you could only have one or the other, I'd choose the teacher over the acoustic. Obviously, this is addressing the learning aspect, not the enjoyment and inspirational aspect of piano.
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Art is never finished, only abandoned. - da Vinci

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#2166169 - 10/14/13 03:57 PM Re: Upright vs Grand? [Re: 4evrBeginR]
findingnemo2010 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/17/09
Posts: 1521
Originally Posted By: 4evrBeginR
Don't be. You can be very productive practicing on a digital even though they all sound very fake. A lot of progress could be made on a digital. If it is a digital or nothing at all, it is still possible to make a lot of progress on a digital.
To re-enforce proper technique, you need to practice at the digital as if it was an acoustic piano. It's helpful to have someone show you exactly how to practice, the techniques required to make different kinds of sounds, and if possible play at least once or twice a week on a real piano, like lessons.

Just because you have an acoustic doesn't automatically translate into better skills. My teacher has many students learning on a Yamaha P85. You would be surprised how much could be done with that lowly device given proper instruction and weekly re-enforced on a teacher's grand piano. Ideally you should have a good practice piano and a good teacher, but if you could only have one or the other, I'd choose the teacher over the acoustic. Obviously, this is addressing the learning aspect, not the enjoyment and inspirational aspect of piano.

Cool. Thanks
_________________________
music to me is kind of like putting together pieces of a puzzle
i call it the paino because its where i put all my pain

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#2166388 - 10/15/13 12:06 AM Re: Upright vs Grand? [Re: 4evrBeginR]
outo Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/02/12
Posts: 823
Loc: Finland
Originally Posted By: 4evrBeginR
At a very high level, the grand piano action has many advantages over the upright, but for a beginner, the differences is a bit over blown on these forums. I find playing trills and mordents a bit more effort on an upright. The action is a little less responsive (comparing brand new to brand new). Otherwise, you should have no issues getting pretty far with your studies on an upright.


But it is still a fact that the piano you practice on can affect your progress, no matter what level you are on. I have wasted a lot of time trying to learn what my teacher teachers (on a good grand) while practicing with my (new) upright. The action and keys are just too difficult for me to play in many ways causing a lot of tension. I have tried numerous grands and uprights and found them all much more comfortable to play.

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#2166446 - 10/15/13 01:53 AM Re: Upright vs Grand? [Re: findingnemo2010]
Jessiebear Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/23/13
Posts: 174
Loc: New Zealand
I was recently able to play on a 1 year old grand and it was so strange compared to my upright. I found it VERY hard to press enough sound out of the keys, they were a lot more stiff and 'hard' than I'm used to. Once I got the hang of it it was ok, but wow what an eyeopener to how different pianos can be! The lady's other piano, an upright, had a vastly different sound to it than mine (in tune but 'different'), and the keys were easier to press so I overdid it until I moderated my playing.

I think it's really important to have experience of different types and brands of pianos, there is so much variety just in uprights, let alone between DP and acoustic.



Edited by Jessiebear (10/15/13 01:54 AM)
Edit Reason: scphelling
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#2166532 - 10/15/13 07:40 AM Re: Upright vs Grand? [Re: outo]
Morodiene Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 12236
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: outo
Originally Posted By: 4evrBeginR
At a very high level, the grand piano action has many advantages over the upright, but for a beginner, the differences is a bit over blown on these forums. I find playing trills and mordents a bit more effort on an upright. The action is a little less responsive (comparing brand new to brand new). Otherwise, you should have no issues getting pretty far with your studies on an upright.


But it is still a fact that the piano you practice on can affect your progress, no matter what level you are on. I have wasted a lot of time trying to learn what my teacher teachers (on a good grand) while practicing with my (new) upright. The action and keys are just too difficult for me to play in many ways causing a lot of tension. I have tried numerous grands and uprights and found them all much more comfortable to play.
I, too, do not submit to the idea that it's OK for a beginner to be on a less than ideal instrument just because they aren't playing demanding music.

1) Playing on a beautiful, responsive instrument is inspiring at any level
2) You do not want your instrument to limit your growth. If it is not capable of things, you will not do them because you simply will not know it was possible
3) Pianos aren't cheap. If you can afford a grand, but get a digital first because you think a beginner doesn't need a grand, and then you upgrade to an acoustic upright, and then finally to a grand, you've purchased 3 pianos when you could have just purchased one. If one isn't sure they want to buy a piano, renting a piano for 6 months and then buying (usually the rental payments go towards the purchase of a piano) is a good option.
_________________________
private piano/voice teacher - full time
MTNA member
www.valeoconservatory.com
Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

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#2167763 - 10/17/13 03:49 PM Re: Upright vs Grand? [Re: findingnemo2010]
wouter79 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/14/10
Posts: 3639
>Is the feel or action very different between an upright and a grand or is it similar? Does it take more to press the keys down on a grand or is it easier?

Yes. To me uprights feel heavier on average, and grands lighter.

Technically they are probably the same as there is a more or less standardized key weight. But I guess that the action is better balanced on a grand.
_________________________

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#2167878 - 10/17/13 09:27 PM Re: Upright vs Grand? [Re: wouter79]
IreneAdler Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/07/11
Posts: 120
Loc: Washington
I can not speak to the keys on all uprights, but my Schimmel upright doesn't have heavier keys compared to playing my teacher's grand. In fact I think sometime my teacher's piano has slightly heavier keys, but this could be just from the fact I only get a chance to play the piano once a week.

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#2167930 - 10/18/13 12:35 AM Re: Upright vs Grand? [Re: IreneAdler]
outo Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/02/12
Posts: 823
Loc: Finland
I have found all grands much easier to play than uprights, regardless of the key weight. My hands just seem to "fit" better. I think it has something to do with the key length and my hand shape and the way I sit.

There's also a psychological dimension to this: I have noticed that if the action of the piano is not responsive enough I have a tendency to try to compensate with too much force which creates tension and the keys start feeling heavier than what they actually are.

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#2167976 - 10/18/13 04:00 AM Re: Upright vs Grand? [Re: wouter79]
peterws Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/21/12
Posts: 3882
Loc: Northern England.
Originally Posted By: wouter79
>Is the feel or action very different between an upright and a grand or is it similar? Does it take more to press the keys down on a grand or is it easier?

Yes. To me uprights feel heavier on average, and grands lighter.

Technically they are probably the same as there is a more or less standardized key weight. But I guess that the action is better balanced on a grand.



It`s maybe worth noting (maybe not) that the action on cheap digitals is lighter than on expensive ones. So they would be more amenable to practice on if you want to replicate a grand.

The silence is deafening . . . . grin
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#2168149 - 10/18/13 02:30 PM Re: Upright vs Grand? [Re: peterws]
4evrBeginR Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/27/09
Posts: 1607
Loc: California
We often focus on weight, but actually, this is not the most critical difference for me. Once there is a down force of 50 g or so, the most important difference between any DP and a grand / upright piano is the way the sound comes out depending on the motion of the down stroke. There is a huge difference between acoustics and digitals, and also within acoustics, a difference between grand and upright. Weight is not the issue, a little more, a little less is not a big deal. It's this down stroke motion to sound element that is the most important aspect that separate digitals from acoustics.
_________________________
Art is never finished, only abandoned. - da Vinci

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#2169124 - 10/20/13 08:54 PM Re: Upright vs Grand? [Re: findingnemo2010]
Rusty Fortysome Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/25/11
Posts: 194
Loc: USA
I've worked on dozens of uprights, repairing them, playing, etc. I've also played dozens of grands from Steinway to Bechstein to Baldwin to Yamaha and Kawaii and etc. I own a DP and other electric pianos and I also own an old grand.

Most uprights are either on par with the action of a grand or far-far easier to play. They always tend to have an ease to the weight on the keys. Grands always seem to need some work, compared to the uprights.

However, I always find myself able to get a better range of emotion on a grand. When I play grands, assuming they aren't hellishly difficult, I can really go from soft to pounding and develop a better range of expressivity. The easy keys of uprights limit that ability. Or so I have experienced. Nothing wrong with uprights, but I enjoy grands more.
_________________________
Currently working on/memorizing...
"It's You" from Robotech
"He's A Pirate"
"Crazy Bone Rag"
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#2169173 - 10/20/13 10:33 PM Re: Upright vs Grand? [Re: findingnemo2010]
findingnemo2010 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/17/09
Posts: 1521
I've never really played a grand. I question if I'd even be able to depress the keys. I'm sure its nothing like the action on my Yamaha arias 141 digital. Or is it?
_________________________
music to me is kind of like putting together pieces of a puzzle
i call it the paino because its where i put all my pain

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#2169512 - 10/21/13 01:30 PM Re: Upright vs Grand? [Re: findingnemo2010]
Forstergirl Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/02/09
Posts: 60
Loc: Ontario
Originally Posted By: findingnemo2010
I've never really played a grand. I question if I'd even be able to depress the keys. I'm sure its nothing like the action on my Yamaha arias 141 digital. Or is it?


I have a fairly good digital, weighted keys, etc. I played it for a few months and then got a grand. Now, on the rare occasion when I try to use the digital, some notes will sound twice, in fast succession. It's startling. My assumption is that my fingers, through perhaps excess weight on the keys, i.e. sticking to the keys (a favourite annoying habit) I am triggering the key to play twice. Anybody else have this experience?

Forstergirl

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