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#2332433 - Yesterday at 02:28 AM taking lessons on a very heavy grand. is it time to upgrade?
littlebirdblue Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/12/14
Posts: 64
So, my DD is almost done with the Faber Primer books except for the Gold Star Performance Book. She's been hitting a few ghost notes here and there when playing her recital pieces for her teacher but I thought it was just her.

Today, I took my first lesson on the same grand piano (C7) and the keys were really on the heavy side.

We bought a Casio PX150 a few months ago and I thought we'll be okay with it for awhile but its touch is feather-light compared to our teacher's grand piano. Now that I've spent some time on it, I'm surprised that DD has been doing as well as she'd been doing, given the difference. I had a hard time adjusting.

I was thinking about upgrading to a Roland in a near future but how important is it to match the key weight? I do think it's good to learn to play on different pianos but will our fingers be strong enough to play on the C7 if we keep on practicing on the PX150?

Is this a symptom of GAS or a real concern?


Edited by littlebirdblue (Yesterday at 02:30 AM)

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#2332440 - Yesterday at 03:23 AM Re: taking lessons on a very heavy grand. is it time to upgrade? [Re: littlebirdblue]
enzo.sandrolini Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 275
Loc: Europe - France
Hello
I had exactly same problem when I started to take lessons on an upright piano
very heavy, different from a 'classic' DP (whatever is the brand..Roland, Kawai etc, as I have tried many of them)
Finally, I have chosen the Hybrid way (because, in my flat, a real piano was not possible)
First a NU1, then I have trade it for a N2
I am very satisfied, and it helped me a lot a this time.

I would say that if you can afford a real piano, even an upright, go for it (with a silent module installed)

Now, after some years of practive, I can say that I can easily adapt myself to any kind of piano...
but It took time for me to reach this level, as a beginner, it was really difficult.
_________________________
Music is a lifestyle

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#2332473 - Yesterday at 05:52 AM Re: taking lessons on a very heavy grand. is it time to upgrade? [Re: littlebirdblue]
Charles Cohen Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/26/12
Posts: 1335
Loc: Richmond, BC, Canada
One thing that _might_ help:

. . . Set the PX-150 "touch" to "heavy".

. Charles

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#2332496 - Yesterday at 08:07 AM Re: taking lessons on a very heavy grand. is it time to upgrade? [Re: littlebirdblue]
Pete14 Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 06/12/13
Posts: 241
Rolands tend to have light actions. The new Kawai CA95/65 are also on the lighter side; however, the older CA93/63 use slightly heavier actions (which I prefer).

As Enzo suggested, an upright acoustic, or perhaps even a hybrid (AvantGrand NU1/N1/N2/N3) are good options if money is not an issue. Or you could go the software route: Kawai VPC1 + a software-piano of your choice.

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#2332498 - Yesterday at 08:09 AM Re: taking lessons on a very heavy grand. is it time to upgrade? [Re: littlebirdblue]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 11968
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
It is better that DD gets exposed to different touches on a piano, because every piano will feel different and she needs to learn how to adjust. She's very early on in her studies, so it will be a while.

Keep in mind that with a large grand piano like the C7, the action will generally have more weight. The Px series tend toward the lighter side of things. Some people prefer to practice on a heavy instrument so that when they play elsewhere it's a bit easier. The danger is that you may end up playing a lot faster than you're used to and getting out of control. Playing with a lighter action is good for ease of use, but can cause problems like your daughter is experiencing. In the end, there's pros and cons to both.

The best you can do is try to find opportunities for DD to play on different pianos as often as possible. Don't obsess about it, but it can help. Down the road, you will want to upgrade to a good acoustic upright or preferably, a good acoustic grand. If you need a digital, then the silent option is good or go for a Kawai DP with the Grand Feel action (MP11, CA65/95, CS7/10). These have a nice, heavy action that mimics a grand piano very well.

But for now, stick with the PX-150. Wait until she completes the Faber series or gets to early intermediate repertoire before upgrading.
_________________________
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Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

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#2332535 - Yesterday at 09:56 AM Re: taking lessons on a very heavy grand. is it time to upgrade? [Re: littlebirdblue]
anotherscott Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/10
Posts: 3226
I have a Yamaha C6, and I'd say it has a lighter action than a Casio PX-x50.

Grand pianos themselves vary a lot in how heavy the keys feel.

As for "upgrading" to a Roland, I think their lower end models (i.e. "Ivory Feel-G") feel less like a real piano than the Casio. The Casio seems a little sluggish on the return, but I think the Roland is even more so.

OTOH, I think the higher end Roland ("Ivory Feel-S") is one of the best actions you can get... but it is lighter feeling than the Casio that you already think feels too light!

One thing that makes these comparisons difficult is that I think people key into different aspects of the feel, and the basic mechanisms of a grand and a low cost DP are just fundamentally different. i.e. the difference between the upweight and downweight tends to be greater on an acoustic piano than a digital. So I think, depending on what you are more sensitive too, that could explain why different people could describe the same action as feeling light or heavy.

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#2332559 - Yesterday at 11:13 AM Re: taking lessons on a very heavy grand. is it time to upgrade? [Re: anotherscott]
bennevis Online   content
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/10
Posts: 5157
Originally Posted By: anotherscott
Grand pianos themselves vary a lot in how heavy the keys feel.


+1

Including from the same brand.

I played on a brand new Grotrian-Steinweg 192 grand last week in a showroom's practice room to make some recordings, and was surprised to discover how 'heavy' it felt. Yet I remember playing a similar model (though used) last year, which felt slightly lighter than my V-Piano, and lighter in action than the Faziolis I usually play on when downtown (Fazioli concert grands are favored by many classical pianists these days for their light, responsive and swift key action, compared to Steinway D).

I don't know whether it was because that particular piano was brand new (the plastic protective film covering on the cabinet hadn't even been removed), and the 'heaviness' I felt was mostly due to friction, but it was certainly hard work playing it. After I finished, I went straight to the Fazioli F278 (which gets hired out to concert halls regularly) to make sure it wasn't just my imagination......and it felt feather-light after that Grotrian thumb.
_________________________
"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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#2332582 - Yesterday at 12:16 PM Re: taking lessons on a very heavy grand. is it time to upgrade? [Re: bennevis]
anotherscott Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/10
Posts: 3226
Originally Posted By: bennevis
Including from the same brand.

Yes. I played a smaller Yamaha grand at a venue, I think it was a G3, and the action was so much lighter than my C6 (which does not have a heavy action to begin with), I actually struggled to play quietly on it.

Back to the OP, if you would prefer a heavier feeling action, you're probably better off looking at a Kawai rather than a Roland.

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#2332592 - Yesterday at 12:54 PM Re: taking lessons on a very heavy grand. is it time to upgrade? [Re: littlebirdblue]
David Farley Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 10/27/13
Posts: 299
Loc: Illinois
I play on two uprights every now and then (a Steinway and a Lyon & Healy) and they both have much lighter actions than any DP I've played (mostly Yamahas).

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#2332653 - Yesterday at 04:09 PM Re: taking lessons on a very heavy grand. is it time to upgrade? [Re: littlebirdblue]
littlebirdblue Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/12/14
Posts: 64
Thank you everyone for taking the time to offer advice. I know I have a tendency to blame the gear rather than to focus on practice better (ahem) so it was helpful to get different perspective.

- N2 right now is not a realistic option financially right now but a used Yahama silent upright might be.

- I tried to play around with the touch response setting this morning but I think what I need is a heavier but more responsive touch if that makes sense

- Kawai dealer here isn't one of those friendly "Play as much as you want" type of dealers so I haven't had a chance to get to know their DPs but MP11 does sound like a good option for an upgrade right now although it'd be rather costly especially if we are going to go for an acoustic soon after

- I think my DD would be okay on PX150 for a little longer but the teacher focused quite a bit on touch and technique with me and while I could correct myself on the C7, when I got home, well, my fingers didn't bounce the same way on our DP. I'm nowhere near intermediate level but when I was trying to play pieces I've been practicing for our teacher (Happy Farmer, Arabesque, etc), my fingers weren't strong enough to go fast enough on the C7. I was shocked since I never had this problem as a child (practicing on an upright, taking lessons on a grand and doing recitals & competitions on unfamiliar grands) and I'd have thought that as an adult, my fingers would be a lot stronger. My dilemma here is that although I could use a better DP, I'm not the "main" student and unlike my DD who may one day choose to pursue music as a career, my only goal is to be able to accompany DD when she practices violin at home.

- My impression on C7 when I was trying to briefly learn unwritten assignments for DD was that the touch wasn't all that heavy but when I actually tried to play 1/8th notes on forte over 130BPM, then it felt super heavy really fast. I asked the teacher if it were me or if the piano had a heavy touch and she confirmed that the particular piano has a very heavy touch.

I certainly still have a lot to learn aside from refining my touch. PX150 isn't going to prevent me from learning the cords and songs. smile But I was a bit shocked by how I couldn't play as I wanted because of the difference in key weight. As I only take lessons every other week, it'd be a long while before I could get used to the key weight during lessons and ultimately, I don't want this to be DD's problem down the road. We added on piano as a second instrument but she now loves both instruments equally. The first thing she does when she wakes up in the morning is to run to her piano and practice endlessly so I want to make sure all the work she is putting into learning piano is not being hindered by practicing on a DP that is not a good fit.

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#2332686 - Yesterday at 05:28 PM Re: taking lessons on a very heavy grand. is it time to upgrade? [Re: littlebirdblue]
peterws Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/21/12
Posts: 3648
Loc: Northern England.
I played on a light acoustic keyboard for years, the teachers' keyboards were all heavy sluggish clumsy things. Why concern yourself with such matters? Can there ever be any justification for heavy keyboards on pianos which are expected to have a decent capability? And if some are light, why aren't the rest?

I'd find a new teacher who knows the business. The digital's fine. Most acoustics are too.
_________________________
"I'm playing all the right notes but not necessarily in the right order." Eric Morecambe

""

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#2332877 - Today at 04:13 AM Re: taking lessons on a very heavy grand. is it time to upgrade? [Re: littlebirdblue]
littlebirdblue Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/12/14
Posts: 64
If I made it sound like it's a clumsy piano then I must have expressed myself rather poorly. Her advanced students play beautifully on it, including very challenging Chopin etudes so it's not the piano or the teacher - it's mostly me being frustrated and perhaps feeling a little guilty that DD doesn't get to practice on a grand at home.

It's such a "bourgeoisie" problem that I feel awkward expressing this. We are so fortunate that we can afford private music lessons for two instruments. Having a starter DP for a preschooler who still hasn't learned a full octave scale shouldn't bother me this much.

I do trust that if our teacher feels our home practice on a lower-end DP is hindering DD's progress, she'll let us know. I need to step back and think about why I was feeling as frustrated as I was last night but chances are, a more expensive DP probably will not make me feel less frustrated. I probably need to practice more efficiently.

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#2332896 - Today at 06:04 AM Re: taking lessons on a very heavy grand. is it time to upgrade? [Re: littlebirdblue]
peterws Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/21/12
Posts: 3648
Loc: Northern England.
I can only say that YouTube shows many folk playing top line classics on modest or even bottom end digital pianos. Digital plano actions generally are not favoured by piano teachers but others realise its the only way ahead for many. I'm sure your situation will be resolved. Nowt wrong in being bourgeoisse. Just means you pay more than you have to. . .:). Have fun!


Edited by peterws (Today at 06:04 AM)
_________________________
"I'm playing all the right notes but not necessarily in the right order." Eric Morecambe

""

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#2332928 - Today at 08:05 AM Re: taking lessons on a very heavy grand. is it time to upgrade? [Re: littlebirdblue]
toddy Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/30/11
Posts: 1693
Loc: Portugal
It is strange to me that the Yamaha C7 is so much heavier than the digital. It's true that Casio (and Roland) have tended to be lighter and Kawai and Yamaha digitals, heavier. But the difference is not very great, and you'd adjust between any of them very quickly.

Acoustics, it seems, have a far greater range of key weight. Some uprights are very light indeed but do not have that nice decisive feel to them of a good acoustic action, or DP. A good grand action is solid but yielding - certainly not stodgy or heavy, IMHO.

But given that great pianists who have expressed a preference seem to like a weight in the range of 40 - 60 grams on middle C, this is some indication that the DP makers have got it right. If anything, DPs tend to be on the heavy side (60 - 80 grams down weight seems typical).
_________________________
Roland HP 302, Yamaha SY85

Reaper / NI Komplete 9 /Kontakt 5// EWQL Sym Choirs/ Sym Orchestra Silver/ MOR2
Mics: SP B1 & MXL V67g/ Alesis MicTube Preamp/ Xenyx302/ Yamaha HS7s .

"Only a fool is fooled" pv88, All Fools' Day 2014.

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#2333071 - Today at 04:34 PM Re: taking lessons on a very heavy grand. is it time to upgrade? [Re: peterws]
Doritos Flavoured Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 10/10/12
Posts: 120
Loc: Brazil
my Casio PX-850 (same action as the 150, I believe) has heavier action than my old Yamaha DGX630


Originally Posted By: peterws
I played on a light acoustic keyboard for years, the teachers' keyboards were all heavy sluggish clumsy things. Why concern yourself with such matters? Can there ever be any justification for heavy keyboards on pianos which are expected to have a decent capability? And if some are light, why aren't the rest?

I'd find a new teacher who knows the business. The digital's fine. Most acoustics are too.


precisely so, my experience too from my days of youth: my teacher's upright was way too heavy when compared to my upright

anyway, the only TRUE piano is the grand. All others are just pale imitations. Choose a budget and live with a degree of "fakeness" which is ok to you.


Edited by Doritos Flavoured (Today at 04:35 PM)
_________________________
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#2333105 - 15 minutes 28 seconds ago Re: taking lessons on a very heavy grand. is it time to upgrade? [Re: Doritos Flavoured]
bennevis Online   content
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/10
Posts: 5157
Originally Posted By: Doritos Flavoured

anyway, the only TRUE piano is the grand. All others are just pale imitations. Choose a budget and live with a degree of "fakeness" which is ok to you.

Not so fast wink .

I've just heard Robert Levin (famed for his improvised cadenzas to Mozart and Beethoven concertos, which he usually plays on period pianos) speak about the difference between the Viennese fortepiano and the modern grand on BBC Radio 3 - after playing Beethoven's C major concerto on a modern grand: "Physically, there's a vast amount that's different, because the keys (on a modern grand) are wider, they go down more deeply, and the resistance is almost double, and so it's much more athletic to play on a Steinway."

In other words, we're all playing on fake instruments, if we play Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven on modern digitals, with their wide keys and deep, heavy action, which those composers wouldn't have recognised.

So, let's have a thumbs up for all fake instruments thumb.
_________________________
"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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