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#923641 - 09/04/05 12:48 AM Dilemma -- Inherited Acoustic or New Digital?
queenie27 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 09/03/05
Posts: 1
My 7 year old has taken to the piano like a house afire (I'm so proud :-) ) and it's time to put him on a full 88 key instrument -- he has been taking lessons for 6 months and has practiced thus far on an electronic keyboard.

The question is what to put him on. His grandparents have offered to send down the piano I learned to play on 25 years ago in NY -- a beautiful Knabe upright that has been maintained, but not perfectly so, and will take some work. So, there will definitely be moving costs and then tuning, but also there are a few cracked keys, and it will need to be fully looked over and could take a bit of additional work as well.

I am in the Washington, DC area, and have been looking locally at used acoustics and digital pianos in the $2000 and under range, as I am (unfortunately) very limited in the budget right now! Taking advantage of the Labor Day sales, I went to one of the major piano dealers in the area and saw what seemed to be a nice Kawai digital at the low end, a new model, and was able to negotiate down from a "list price" of $2199 to $1499.

Any thoughts on what I should do here? I have to admit I lean towards an acoustic piano (and have a sentimental attachment to the one I learned on), but I am a little nervous about the unknowns involved (both in terms of quality and price) in shipping it down. Any insights would be appreciated.

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Piano & Music Accessories
#923642 - 09/04/05 03:35 AM Re: Dilemma -- Inherited Acoustic or New Digital?
Gyro Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/24/05
Posts: 4533
In my opinion there is no question here, the
answer is to get a digital piano. Digital
pianos are now technologically almost at the
point where they are indistinguishable
from acoustics in sound and touch.

I grew up playing on an acoustic and when
I moved out on my own into an apt. I initally
considered getting an acoustic, since the
building allows pianos. However, when I
first moved into the building, one tenant
had an acoustic, and the reaction of the other
tenants to his playing was so hostile (he
was just about run out of the building) that
I decided look into digitals instead. This
was more than ten yrs. ago, in the early
days of home digital pianos, and the one that
I got was a Korg with terrific sound but
with unweighted keys like an electric organ,
since in those days weighted keys were
a rare and very expensive luxury.

I played on this Korg for many years, since
the sound was so pure and excellent,
but 4 mos. ago I finally bought
a new digital upright with true
weighted hammer action keys
and I was astounded at the
technological advancements that had
been made since I got the Korg. The
key action on my new digital,
a Casio AP-31, is almost indistinguishable
from an acoustic, and the grand piano
sampling (sound) on it is, to my ears
at least, just like an acoustic grand
piano. This new digital piano is, for
all practical purposes, the equivalent
of an acoustic piano--and this
AP-31 is the economy model of the line at
700.00.

These days all of the numerous brands of digitals
use similar technology and have similar performance
to other brands in the same price range. I'd
offhand recommend Casio digital pianos,
because of their superior weighted action,
but you'd have a hard time today buying
a bad digital piano, either the "upright"
style or the lightweight, portable "stage
piano" style. All of the uprights and most
of the stage pianos now have weighted keys
and all use sampling from an acoustic
grand piano.

There are a whole bunch of digital uprights
in the 1000.00-1500.00 range that are
high-quality instruments that would satisfy
anyone looking for something equivalent
to an acoustic upright. The ones in the
1500.00-4000.00 range are similar in sound
and action but offer more computerized
features like built-in LCD screens and so
forth.

Many purists on these forums still won't even
go near a digital, but these people don't
know what they are missing. But little by little
people are getting the message and overcoming
the totally obsolete bias against digital
pianos (this bias in fact has been
out-of-date since the appearance of the
first electric pianos about 40 yrs. ago)
and you see more and more people listing an
acoustic and a digital as the pianos they
own (the digital is great for quiet practice
and is actually superior for developing
technque since it's slightly harder to play
on than an acoustic).

There are also purely economic reasons in
favor of digitals. Besides being lower-priced
than acoustics, they are also completely
maintenance-free, while acoustics require
frequent and expensive tuning and
maintenance (someone on these forums
recently quoted a price of 1500.00 for
regulation and general overhaul on an
acoustic, which is a something that
theoretically should be performed
every few yrs. or so).

So I'd go for a digital. I can't say enough
in praise of my Casio AP-31. I use it
to play the most advanced classical pieces,
including concertos, and when I go to
stores and play on acoustics they feel like
toy keyboards because a digital naturally
improves your physical technique and strength.
For 1000.00-1500.00 you can get a digital
that will be equivalent, and in some ways
superior, to an acoustic. You don't need
to spend any more than that unless you
want a lot of computerized features.

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