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#2338870 - 10/18/14 06:36 PM Piano/Organ for small church
ColinDS Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/29/14
Posts: 18
Hi. I'm shopping for a friend who needs a digital piano/organ for his church.

It has to be an instrument that will please a serious pianist (weighted keys, graded damper pedal, nice piano samples)

AND

that will please my friend who like to play with the organ sounds (a variety of decent organ combinations, a cresecendo pedal, a bass coupler function).

Does such an instrument exist? Can you suggest makes and models that might fit the bill? Thanks.

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#2338875 - 10/18/14 06:58 PM Re: Piano/Organ for small church [Re: ColinDS]
David Farley Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/27/13
Posts: 359
Loc: Illinois
Many of the high-end stage pianos with nice actions have some organ sounds, but then there's the Hammond Sk-1 88, which sounds more like what you're looking for. It has a Fatar action.

http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/Sk1-88

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#2338881 - 10/18/14 07:18 PM Re: Piano/Organ for small church [Re: ColinDS]
ColinDS Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/29/14
Posts: 18
I forgot to mention that my organist friend plays traditional Methodist hymns - not jazz type gospels hymns. The other woman who plays piano is a classical pianist, so she really wants the weighted keys, etc.

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#2338888 - 10/18/14 07:39 PM Re: Piano/Organ for small church [Re: ColinDS]
David Farley Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/27/13
Posts: 359
Loc: Illinois
Keep in mind a piano key action will be completely different than an organ action, and traditional pipe organs typically have at least two 61-key manuals (and pedals). A piano trying to be an organ or an organ trying to be a piano is going to be a compromise. You might want to look at some of the more one-stop-shop digital pianos like the Casio PX-5S or the Yamaha DGX-650 that offer some of everything. Do you want a piano with speakers or will this be hooked into a sound system?

There's also the option of adding a pipe organ via software using something like Hauptwerk, but that's a very expensive package, and usually people using it go with at least a two-manual setup with an organ keyboard action.

I'm curious to see what other people come up with.

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#2338908 - 10/18/14 09:17 PM Re: Piano/Organ for small church [Re: ColinDS]
anotherscott Online   content
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Registered: 02/20/10
Posts: 3281
Right... no organ action will feel great for piano, and no piano action will feel great for organ. Ideally, you get two boards. If you must stick with one, some boards offer better compromises than others.

For organ, are you looking for Hammond (tonewheel) organ sounds, or for pipe organ sounds? Will some presets do, or are you looking to be able to vary the individual drawbars/stops?

What is your budget?

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#2338994 - 10/19/14 07:22 AM Re: Piano/Organ for small church [Re: ColinDS]
ZuidplasHan Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/08/14
Posts: 5
Loc: The Netherlands
My setup could serve your purpose: I bought a digital (stage)piano MP11 and because there is no organ sound on it I took an unused iPad4, downloaded two (small)organ-apps on it and with some wiring: midi to usb to iPad and from iPad out (or in my case to line-in of the piano) I can play organ, with restrictions!, as well.( Have a look at www. polaron.de ) In this way I spent less than 100 euros extra for the organsound.
The restrictions are the lack of split organstops for one keyboard and forget the 16 feet pipes in the pedal, because there is no pedal. Nevertheless I can play a lot of written music for the small (pipe)organ and there is enough power to accompany the singing of the hymns.
Another option could be the VPC1 MIDICONTROLLER with for example "Pianoteq" and one of the products of the "virtualorgancompany" to play with a reasionably quick computer.
As mentioned above: there is no piano-organ without compromises and much depend on your budget.

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#2338996 - 10/19/14 07:36 AM Re: Piano/Organ for small church [Re: ColinDS]
ColinDS Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/29/14
Posts: 18
The organist is not concerned about key touch. The weighted hammers would be fine for him. The instrument needs to have 88 keys - no organ pedals. Ideally, it would have the Bass Coupler function. Also, they do no want a stage-type keyboard, rather something with a solid stand.

In terms of budget, I think $5000 would be tops.


Edited by ColinDS (10/19/14 07:37 AM)

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#2339011 - 10/19/14 08:57 AM Re: Piano/Organ for small church [Re: ColinDS]
toddy Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/30/11
Posts: 1743
Loc: Portugal
Since the people who're going to play the instrument are 'traditional' musicians of pipe organ and acoustic piano, respectively, it seems to me that one instrument won't do. If there were a one-instrument solution, it might well be more expensive AND complicated (computer/ interface/ special pedal options etc etc) than the simplest answer, which would be two separate instruments.

A medium range console or stage DP would certainly have reasonable piano-like action, and pretty good piano sounds. (between 1 and 3 thousand euros, new)

Possibly a stage keyboard would be suitable for organ, and will be economic. (from around 800 euros, upward) However, if the organist needs the sort of controls offered on a pipe organ, a dedicated digital organ, with the correct pedals and stops would be necessary.

There are lower-priced organ-keyboards such as this http://www.thomann.de/gb/studiologic_numa_organ_2.htm

But I'm not sure how electronic-organ biased, as opposed to acoustic pipe-organ biased they would be.

If you want a single-instrument, then the piano action keyboard would be essential for your pianist, so get the best DP you can afford, with reasonable organ sounds in it (virtually all DPs have both electronic and pipe organ samples in them)


Edited by toddy (10/19/14 09:02 AM)
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#2339016 - 10/19/14 09:06 AM Re: Piano/Organ for small church [Re: ColinDS]
Valhalun Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/17/14
Posts: 19
I'm assuming by solid stand you want something with a wooden furniture style stand? With a budget of $5000 you can really get into some very nice console style digitals. I'm not really sure what a bass coupler is, organ is not my forte, some good digitals to look at are the Kawai CA65, Roland HP508, and maybe a Yamaha CLP575. These are all pretty much the major brands' top of the line digitals and I would assume at least one of them should have the organ features you're looking for as well as be a great piano.

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#2339026 - 10/19/14 09:36 AM Re: Piano/Organ for small church [Re: toddy]
PianoMan51 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 09/30/10
Posts: 14
Loc: United States
One keyboard for real piano and real pipe organ. If you had said 'we have an okay pianist and an okay organist', then MAYBE... But I hear you saying you have a good pianist and a good organist, and guess what, you aren't going to find one keyboard they both will be willing to use without cursing your name.

The keyboard feel has been discussed above. But you've had people suggesting stage keyboards, and every single one of them (Hammond, Numa, etc.) is emulating a Hammond B3, not a pipe organ. For Gospel, good. For Methodist church hymns, bad. Just the fact that you mentioned 'bass coupler'. I'm a pianist and keyboard player, been doing it for 55 years and I had to Google 'bass coupler'. You won't find it in stage boards. You won't find a decent pipe organ at all in stage boards.

Next, and this is critical, you didn't say anything about sound reinforcement. Does your $5k budget include money for stage (sorry, pulpit) monitors?

So where does this leave us? You need:
1). Weighted 88 key MIDI controller, from Casio Privia to Kawai VP1C. ($1-2K)
2). Unweighted 64/76 key MIDI controller with lots of programmable buttons ($600)
3). Two-tiered keyboard stand. ($150)
4). Modern fast computer. ($1-2k)
5). Virtual piano software: Pianoteq or one of many sampled pianos: Ivory, etc. ($2-300)
6). Virtual organ software: Hauptwerk (expensive but wonderful) ($500 and up)
7). 2 (for stereo) powered PA speakers with 12 or 15" drivers (bass is essential for the pipe organ), or smaller drivers with a sub-woofer. These need to be very high quality for the virtual piano to sound like a real piano. ($1.2k and up for the pair)
8). Small audio mixer. ($100) Get one with a few microphone inputs, you'll be glad later.
9). Find a parishioner with cabinet-making skills to make a 'shell' that hides the keyboards and the stand. ($300 in wood)

So, you're close. If you can up the budget, I'd go with the Kawai VP1C and buy the best speakers you can afford. The Hauptwerk software starts with a single organ which is very usable and you can always add on others as needed. For the MIDI and computer parts of this you'll need someone who is hungry to dive into technical stuff. A parishioner, or better: you.

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#2339058 - 10/19/14 11:06 AM Re: Piano/Organ for small church [Re: PianoMan51]
anotherscott Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/10
Posts: 3281
Originally Posted By: PianoMan51
You won't find a decent pipe organ at all in stage boards.

That's not true. The Nord C2D has full pipe organ emulation, including bass coupler. The Hammond SK1, SK2, and XK1C also have pipe organ emulation, not sure about the bass coupler feature.

But yes, if he's looking for pipe (rather than Hammond) organ emulation, complete with control of the stops/footages, I don't think that can be found in any keyboard with a piano-weighted action, I don't think that animal exists, so it would have to be two boards (or something like a board and a computer). The closest you can get to that on a weighted action board would be that some do have tonewheel organ emulation and/or a handful of pipe organ presets. If that will do, the Kawai MP7 has an action that is pretty amenable to organ playing, and may be perfectly find depending on the organ techniques of the player. I know the OP has a higher budget and wants something more substantial than a stage model, maybe Kawai has a console model that has the same action and organ functions.

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#2339063 - 10/19/14 11:23 AM Re: Piano/Organ for small church [Re: ColinDS]
David Farley Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/27/13
Posts: 359
Loc: Illinois
"Bass coupling" means to map what's being played on the keyboard (usually just the left hand) on to whatever stops happen to be pulled on the pedal organ (many of which will be sounding an octave or two below the key being pressed). This ought to already be sounding familiar to keyboard players here. So yes, it's like using the split and layer feature, which is something almost always found on most decent digital pianos these days. Usually once you get something you like, you can save it as a preset. (My piano calls them "performances.") So, it might require some time with the manual for whatever piano you end up with, but it should be easy to set up. Since it's important, you might want to be proactive and research how it's done for any particular piano you're considering.

Leaving out the piano part, I've run through the "how could I build a decent virtual pipe organ out of off-the-shelf parts" a couple times and always come up with a figure of about $5K, so it's nice to see this confirmed.

The Hammond Sk-1 does have pipe organ sounds, in addition to the B-3. I don't know how extensive they are, but it would be a waste if you didn't ever use the B-3. In fact, most stage pianos with organ sounds are going to probably have a preponderance of jazz and pop organ sounds and maybe just a few pipe organ samples.

Does the pianist you're making this purchase for already play a digital? You might want to go to a dealer and have them play some different brands and models before buying anything blind.

Going all virtual might work, but are you comfortable if the computer crashes in the middle of the service (or won't boot at all)? I'm thinking if it was me I might get something high end that had some back-up sounds built-in just in case.

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#2339075 - 10/19/14 12:01 PM Re: Piano/Organ for small church [Re: ColinDS]
ColinDS Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/29/14
Posts: 18
I have a full Hauptwerk set-up at my home, so I'm familiar with virtual instruments.

How would this equipment work for my friend's church:


1) An expensive digital piano (Yamaha, Kawai, etc.)

2) The Cecilia Stand-alone MIDI module (Expander) with Hauptwerk-quality samples

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#2339083 - 10/19/14 12:21 PM Re: Piano/Organ for small church [Re: ColinDS]
David Farley Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/27/13
Posts: 359
Loc: Illinois
I'm not familiar with the Cecilia, but it looks interesting. That looks like it will work, although you might have to do some fiddling with the piano settings to set up something that emulates a bass coupler.

If you go with a cabinet-style digital piano, even a high-end one, make sure it has full-size MIDI connections. Most high-end stage pianos do, many console pianos only provide USB MIDI, if anything, as this isn't a feature their intended audience frequently uses.

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#2339084 - 10/19/14 12:22 PM Re: Piano/Organ for small church [Re: ColinDS]
ColinDS Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/29/14
Posts: 18
Regarding the Kawai CA65, what do these functions do?


Lower Octave Shift,
Lower Pedal On/Off,
Layer Octave Shift,

I'm looking for a function that would be a Bass Coupler, meaning that when the organist is playing a simple 4-part hymn the bass voice would be doubled an octave lower.

It this digital piano does not do this, do you know of one that will?

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#2339085 - 10/19/14 12:23 PM Re: Piano/Organ for small church [Re: ColinDS]
David Farley Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/27/13
Posts: 359
Loc: Illinois
You might want to also post this question on the organs forum:

http://www.pianoworld.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/forums/7/1/Organs_-_Electronic_(B3_etc.),.html

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#2339187 - 10/19/14 04:33 PM Re: Piano/Organ for small church [Re: ColinDS]
ColinDS Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/29/14
Posts: 18
Thank you. Done.

laugh

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#2339236 - 10/19/14 06:55 PM Re: Piano/Organ for small church [Re: ColinDS]
dewster Online   content
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/09
Posts: 4352
Loc: Northern NJ
This thread is interesting. I've said it before many times: no DP manufacturer is addressing the needs of small houses of worship. I realize organ and piano keys are physically quite different, but this is an almost completely untapped market. Here's how to do it (IMO):

- Light hammer action.
- Very good piano sound.
- Small positive organ samples with simple stops control.
- Built in amplification for monitor use / small rooms.

How hard is this? Then again, DP manufacturers haven't gotten beyond looping, so I suppose I'm asking the impossible.
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#2339248 - 10/19/14 07:30 PM Re: Piano/Organ for small church [Re: David Farley]
anotherscott Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/10
Posts: 3281
Originally Posted By: David Farley
The Hammond Sk-1 does have pipe organ sounds, in addition to the B-3. I don't know how extensive they are, but it would be a waste if you didn't ever use the B-3.

I don't know, it just depends what you need. Why is buying an SK1 for pipe and never using B3 sounds and more of a waste than the players who buy SK1 for B3 sounds and never use the pipes?

Although poorly recorded, here are some pipe samples on the SK1/SK2:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cb7HHYzE9Gs (starting at about 8 minutes)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A3V--i6u8v8

Though since really, both pipe AND b3 style sounds are commonly heard in churches, getting back to an earlier post, this question still hasn't been answered:

"For organ, are you looking for Hammond (tonewheel) organ sounds, or for pipe organ sounds? Will some presets do, or are you looking to be able to vary the individual drawbars/stops?"

Maybe he *will* use the B3 settings. Or maybe that's even *all* he wants...?

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#2339252 - 10/19/14 07:38 PM Re: Piano/Organ for small church [Re: ColinDS]
Kawai James Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/06/07
Posts: 9333
Loc: Hamamatsu, Japan
Originally Posted By: ColinDS
Regarding the Kawai CA65, what do these functions do?

Lower Octave Shift


Shifts the pitch of the Lower section sound in octave steps when using the 'Split' keyboard mode (e.g. when playing Bass + Piano, it may be desirable to have the bass play an octave lower/higher than the piano sound).

Originally Posted By: ColinDS
Lower Pedal On/Off


Determines whether or not the damper pedal should sustain notes played in the Lower section when using the Keyboard Split mode (e.g. when playing a Bass + Piano split, only the piano will be sustained when the damper pedal is pressed).

Originally Posted By: ColinDS
Layer Octave Shift


Shifts the pitch of the Layered sound in octave steps when using the 'Dual' keyboard mode (e.g. when playing Piano + Strings simultaneously, it may be desirable to have the strings play an octave lower/higher than the piano sound.

Originally Posted By: ColinDS
I'm looking for a function that would be a Bass Coupler, meaning that when the organist is playing a simple 4-part hymn the bass voice would be doubled an octave lower.

It this digital piano does not do this, do you know of one that will?


Not in a console digital piano, however this should be possible using a stage piano (MP7, RD-800) by creating a zone for the bass notes and transposing the octave.

Kind regards,
James
x
_________________________
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"Richard, none of us could forget you have a CLP-990." - EssBrace, 2014

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#2339254 - 10/19/14 07:42 PM Re: Piano/Organ for small church [Re: dewster]
Kawai James Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/06/07
Posts: 9333
Loc: Hamamatsu, Japan
Originally Posted By: dewster
- Light hammer action.
- Very good piano sound.
- Small positive organ samples with simple stops control.
- Built in amplification for monitor use / small rooms.

How hard is this?


Not so hard, but probably not so profitable either, given the limited demand for such an instrument.

Churches that need a digital piano will buy a digital piano, churches that need a digital organ will buy a digital organ.

Kind regards,
James
x
_________________________
Employed by Kawai Japan, however the opinions I express are my own.
Nord Electro 3 fan & occasional rare groove player.

"Richard, none of us could forget you have a CLP-990." - EssBrace, 2014

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#2339284 - 10/19/14 08:59 PM Re: Piano/Organ for small church [Re: ColinDS]
MossySF Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/07/14
Posts: 40
Seems like buying 2 devices is the proper route. I assume that with less competition, digital organs are more expensive so with a $5000 budget, allocate $1500 for the piano, $3500 for the organ.

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#2339288 - 10/19/14 09:06 PM Re: Piano/Organ for small church [Re: ColinDS]
David Farley Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/27/13
Posts: 359
Loc: Illinois
Not exactly what he's looking for, but this nifty thing popped up on another forum the other day.

http://www.midiconcepts.com/

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#2339360 - Yesterday at 04:05 AM Re: Piano/Organ for small church [Re: ColinDS]
Marco M Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/28/12
Posts: 453
Loc: Europe
If you really couldnīt go for two instruments (going for two instruments is what I recommend you!), then keep in mind that switching forth and back between piano and organ sounds, or even between preselected sound settings of any kind, should be a simple thing. Be aware, that for some user interfaces you need a master mind degree in remembering sequences of key buttons to become pressed, or you would at least need quite some patience and attention until the 15 presses are done for ending up where you want to end up. On others this is less a hassle. Therefore you might want to compare the YAMAHA and CASIO instruments, they are in my experience the most easy and logically straight forward to use, if it comes to such simple tasks like swithing between sounds, and their piano and organ sound qualities are quite nice as well. Others always give me headaches when having to switch between piano and organ sounds.
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#2339397 - Yesterday at 09:28 AM Re: Piano/Organ for small church [Re: ColinDS]
ColinDS Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/29/14
Posts: 18
You folks offer a wealth of information. I thank all of you for your input.

I guess I will suggest that my friend buy a good digital piano. Do you know which make and model has the best pipe organ settings.

He is used to the Yamaha CLP series. Have they improved the organ samples over the past ten years? How do the Kawai, Roland and Casio organ sounds compare?

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#2339404 - Yesterday at 10:10 AM Re: Piano/Organ for small church [Re: ColinDS]
anotherscott Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/10
Posts: 3281
Originally Posted By: ColinDS
I guess I will suggest that my friend buy a good digital piano. Do you know which make and model has the best pipe organ settings.

There is rarely a "best" anything. There are lots of different pipe organ sounds. So in part, the question is, which pipe organ sound(s) are you looking for, and do those particular sounds exist in a given DP. Though by looking at the sound lists, you could at least tell which models have a greater quantity of different pipe organ sounds.

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#2339639 - Yesterday at 09:35 PM Re: Piano/Organ for small church [Re: ColinDS]
PianoMan51 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 09/30/10
Posts: 14
Loc: United States
Originally Posted By: ColinDS

I guess I will suggest that my friend buy a good digital piano. Do you know which make and model has the best pipe organ settings.

Come on guys, help him out. Which good digital pianos have the best pipe organ sounds?

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#2339647 - Yesterday at 09:56 PM Re: Piano/Organ for small church [Re: ColinDS]
David Farley Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/27/13
Posts: 359
Loc: Illinois
The ones on the Yamaha CP4 are pretty generic. Meaning not that they sound bad, but it's just a couple canned mixes of stops ("church organ," "pipe organ" - that kind of stuff). Ok for hymn playing, probably, but the congregation might notice the lack of variety after a while. I like his idea of adding some stops later with a MIDI box.

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#2339663 - Yesterday at 10:50 PM Re: Piano/Organ for small church [Re: Kawai James]
dewster Online   content
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/09
Posts: 4352
Loc: Northern NJ
Originally Posted By: Kawai James
Not so hard, but probably not so profitable either, given the limited demand for such an instrument.

Churches that need a digital piano will buy a digital piano, churches that need a digital organ will buy a digital organ

There's only like a skazillion smaller churches that can only afford one. Pipes must be exceedingly easy to sample / synthesize, why isn't there some kind of organ stop thing going on in every mid to high end DP? Isn't it almost free to throw something like that in at this point? And if it is almost free, isn't demand rather moot?
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#2339695 - Today at 12:38 AM Re: Piano/Organ for small church [Re: dewster]
anotherscott Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/10
Posts: 3281
Originally Posted By: dewster

- Small positive organ samples with simple stops control.
Originally Posted By: dewster

Pipes must be exceedingly easy to sample / synthesize, why isn't there some kind of organ stop thing going on in every mid to high end DP? Isn't it almost free to throw something like that in at this point?

Why do you think pipe organ emulation with stops would be so much easier/cheaper than tonewheel organ emulation with drawbars?

Originally Posted By: dewster

There's only like a skazillion smaller churches that can only afford one.

Almost any budget can get you one pricey board or two cheaper boards. ;-)

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