Electric vs acoustic piano? Whats the best choice?

Posted by: Inca

Electric vs acoustic piano? Whats the best choice? - 01/01/13 08:06 AM

Hi, I'm a piano beginner and have been taking lessons for about a month. I have to practice at a keyboard at home but since I know that I will continue playing the piano I thought about getting myself a real instrument.
I may have about 1500 Dollars, maybe a bit more, which I can spend. I know that this is not a lot that's why I thought about buying myself an electric one or an used acoustic one, because a new one I couldn't afford. I've already checked some offers for used acoustic pianos in my neighborhood and there are plenty of offers for about that price. Since I'm not an expert I do not know whether these are good offers or not.

I will have to practice some year on that instrument so the question which one to get is pretty important. That's why I made a list of pros and cons for acoustic and for electric.

Electric:
+Cheaper
+Different tones (This isn't really important to me)
+Headphones
+No tuning necessary
-Not the original instrument
-Other quality of playing

Acoustic:
+The original instrument
+Should be the best way to learn how to play the piano properly
-I would have to buy a used one
-No headphones
-Yearly tuning necessary


Some other questions:
*How much should I spend to get a good electric / acoustic (used) one?
*What should I watch out for buying a used one?
*What are some brands you can recommend me?
*Any models I should check out? (Especially regarding electric pianos)

So what do you think? What would be the best choice for someone like me?

Edit: Maybe I should mention that I want to play mostly classical.
Posted by: EssBrace

Re: Electric vs acoustic piano? Whats the best choice? - 01/01/13 08:11 AM

Acoustic is better. I have owned a huge number of digital pianos over many years and only recently have I seen the light! I own a couple of digitals because there are tangible benefits such as the ability to play with headphones but my main piano is now a Kawai upright and it is infinitely more rewarding to play than any digital.

That said, your budget is too small to get yourself a decent used Yamaha or Kawai upright so you would be looking at older instruments and/or ones that frankly were less good when they were new. There will be a decent used upright piano out there at your budget but it might take a very dedicated search to find it. Maybe until you have more money digital is the best option for you....if you want particular recommendations on which models to look for then ask a question over on the digital piano forum.
Posted by: Ragdoll

Re: Electric vs acoustic piano? Whats the best choice? - 01/01/13 09:49 AM

IMO there is no right or wrong answer to this. I can tell you my own experience though. I always wanted to play piano and when I was fortunate enough to afford to follow this desire,I bought a $1500 good sounding and feeling digital to learn on(Kohler KD26 made by Samick). Because like most beginners I had unrealistic expectations of the work and time involved to get enough experience to call what I played music grin and didn't want to crap out after a year or so after spending big bucks on a an acoustic. I thought it might take me a year to learn to play well ha

After a couple years I knew it would be something I wanted dispite the time/work involved to stick with it and then I shelled out for an Yamaha U1 which, while not a top line grand I am so happy with it. AFA the tuning and maintenance issue; don't you change your oil at regular intervals and maintain the upkeep on the cars you own? Why not bum rides or walk everywhere? laugh To me this is a non issue.

In maybe 5 more years I will move up to a better piano. I have had to adjust my technique somewhat to the touch of the acoustic but it isn't a steep learning curve at all. Playing different ones is valuable to as they all have there own tone and touch. Good luck in your search, get what feels good/right and is affordable HTH. Sorry for the essay response.
Posted by: Dave Horne

Re: Electric vs acoustic piano? Whats the best choice? - 01/01/13 09:53 AM

... Yearly tuning necessary

I think you should consider more frequent tunings.

Since you have a limited budget, consider renting a piano. You can then move up considerably in quality and you'll have more time to look for other pianos. Just a thought.
Posted by: Rickster

Re: Electric vs acoustic piano? Whats the best choice? - 01/01/13 10:19 AM

Digital pianos have come a long way... and, as has been mentioned, there are definite advantages to owning a digital.

However, there is no substitute for a real, acoustic piano. Even though they can be a lot of trouble and expense, and have to be tuned and serviced, the blend of sounds and colors can't be matched by a digital, even when it is slightly out of tune. I call that "having a personality" all it own, of sorts (both good and bad smile ).

Good luck!

Rick
Posted by: Jerry Groot RPT

Re: Electric vs acoustic piano? Whats the best choice? - 01/01/13 10:49 AM

Some things to remember: One important thing to remember, is that if you buy a good quality piano, first of all, you will enjoy it much more because it will sound and play better than a crummy quality piano will.

You will have fewer problems with it too generally speaking, whereas if you buy a crappy new piano or a crappy used piano that was no good to begin with and then was rarely tuned, you can count on having problems with a piano like that from the get go.

As a technician that has tuned thousands and thousands of pianos over the past 40 some years, I can hear and feel the difference the minute I set down and play a digital piano. To me, there is no comparison to an acoustic piano.

That said, I do own a 88 note digital that I've had for many years and I have a lot of fun with it sometimes. But, 95 % of the time I play, I am playing on my Schimmel. I own 2 acoustic pianos too.

So, just a little more food for thought.
Posted by: MacDan

Re: Electric vs acoustic piano? Whats the best choice? - 01/01/13 01:06 PM

I would echo Jerry's comments and add a few of my own:

I am an adult beginning student who started with a good quality digital piano. My plan was to start on the digital and after a year or two of practice start looking for a high quality used baby grand.

Shortly after I began my lessons, I happened across a nice 5'7" Kimball grand that was in decent shape and cost me nothing but the expense to move it. With a reasonable amount invested to have my technician replace the key bushings and regulate it, I will have a good, solid acoustic instrument to play (he is coming tomorrow to remove the action and take it to his shop for the work.)

All I can say is that my digital piano has been collecting dust ever since. Even with sloppy keys and some lost motion that the regulation will clear up, the difference between the two is immeasurable.

With this experience I would encourage anyone who is serious about playing to get an acoustic piano, even if they can't play it 100% of the time.

Good luck!

Dan
Posted by: BDB

Re: Electric vs acoustic piano? Whats the best choice? - 01/01/13 01:09 PM

If you want to play acoustic piano, get an acoustic piano. If you want to play a digital piano, get a digital instrument. They are only equivalent for the barest beginner.
Posted by: Bob Newbie

Re: Electric vs acoustic piano? Whats the best choice? - 01/01/13 01:18 PM

Other than a need to play with headphones(silent) I'd go for an acoustic..
I'd keep my digital (p60) and buy a acoustic grand... smile
Posted by: Dave B

Re: Electric vs acoustic piano? Whats the best choice? - 01/01/13 02:07 PM

Eventually you will want one of each.
Posted by: BDB

Re: Electric vs acoustic piano? Whats the best choice? - 01/01/13 03:39 PM

Originally Posted By: Dave B
Eventually you will want one of each.


That has never been the case for me. I do not want any of one, nor just one of the other.
Posted by: bennevis

Re: Electric vs acoustic piano? Whats the best choice? - 01/01/13 03:41 PM

I'm probably one of very few people here who play almost exclusively classical music but whose main instrument is a digital, for the very good reason that I can't have an acoustic where I live (in a small apartment surrounded by neighbors), because I'd never be able to play it at normal volumes: I use my DP - which has no speakers - exclusively with headphones. But I did choose my digital carefully, and it's one of very few that can emulate almost all the subtleties of an acoustic, so I've had no problem switching from it to acoustic grands, which I play on occasionally when I'm downtown.

But for a beginner, I'd still recommend that you learn on a good acoustic (or at least have regular access to one). The problem is that even today, very few DPs are good enough to allow the learner pianist to develop fine control of touch, tone, voicing and dynamics, and subtleties of pedaling. Those with weighted keys are OK to develop finger technique (up to a basic level), but for classical music, you need a lot more. It's all too easy to spot those pianists who've learnt exclusively on DPs from those who learnt playing on acoustics, when visiting piano showrooms.
Posted by: ju5t1n-h

Re: Electric vs acoustic piano? Whats the best choice? - 01/01/13 03:48 PM

i bought electric first, and then when i knew that i wasn't going to quit (most people quit after their first year) i purchased an acoustic.
Posted by: supersport

Re: Electric vs acoustic piano? Whats the best choice? - 01/01/13 06:22 PM

Hi Inca,

"So what do you think? What would be the best choice for someone like me?"

There may not be really enough information about you. Are you a high school student about to go off to college or what are your other circumstances besides wanting to learn to play?
Posted by: musicpassion

Re: Electric vs acoustic piano? Whats the best choice? - 01/01/13 06:28 PM

To me your post makes it sound like you desire an acoustic instrument. I think that's the direction you should go.

$1,500 can get you a quality used instrument, depending on where you live. In my locale there is currently a Yamaha console piano in superb condition (yes, recently tuned, etc.) and the asking price is $1,400.

I think something like that would be a nice instrument for you.
Posted by: Amaruk

Re: Electric vs acoustic piano? Whats the best choice? - 01/01/13 06:49 PM

No doubt you want an acoustic piano the way you describe things. Once you find one you like, consider hirining a tech to look over the piano before you buy it. Good luck and please share your piano story with us here!
Posted by: Amaruk

Re: Electric vs acoustic piano? Whats the best choice? - 01/01/13 06:54 PM

Originally Posted By: Dave B
Eventually you will want one of each.


So true!
Posted by: Morodiene

Re: Electric vs acoustic piano? Whats the best choice? - 01/01/13 09:02 PM

I think since you already have a keyboard, you can use that for silent practicing. Get an acoustic that you can grow into, and for now used seems to be the best option. Yamahas are great pianos, but you may end up paying more than you'd like. Perhaps consider some lesser-known names with the understanding that this will not be your final piano purchase, and you'll most likely upgrade in a couple of years.
Posted by: Furtwangler

Re: Electric vs acoustic piano? Whats the best choice? - 01/01/13 10:28 PM

Inca

Normally I would also recommend you get an acoustic.

With your budget and situation however, I want to recommend that you consider a Kawai MP6 Stage Piano.

The price is right in line with your budget and it might make a lot of sense for you.

One great advantage of a stage piano is portability.

I recently recommended this model to both the orchestra with which I am affiliated and a piano teacher friend of mine. They are both thrilled with it.

Practice hard and enjoy it!
Posted by: HalfStep

Re: Electric vs acoustic piano? Whats the best choice? - 01/02/13 01:05 AM

Originally Posted By: Dave B
Eventually you will want one of each.


I agree with this sentiment. If you are beginning, a DP may suit you well. It has many benefits. The truth is, if you're just beginning to study, you will not recognize the differences immediately. When you feel as if you're ready to upgrade, you will always have the DP. I played my DP for hours on end. Now that I have an acoustic, it is my preference but the DP is unparalleled when I want to play privately with headphones. My daughter also plays so we can practice at the same time. You'd be surprised at how we are each motivated by the other. In other words, when one of us practices, the other wants to too. Of course, she alway takes over the acoustic but at least we can both practice at the same time. So in short, you will definitely want one of each. A DP is a good start.
Posted by: peterws

Re: Electric vs acoustic piano? Whats the best choice? - 01/02/13 04:29 AM

If you`ve access to a big piano shop, or there`s a lot of acoustics or digitals for sale privately, see and play as many as you can. Play them all; there are some dreadful acoustics out there. Don`t get stuck with one of them. You don`t need a big name. Baldwin acoustics are great, I think..
Posted by: Inca

Re: Electric vs acoustic piano? Whats the best choice? - 01/02/13 07:39 AM

Thank you all for your answers, I really appreciate them.
I thought about my situation again and I do now think that I will have to get a digital one. The point is that in the near future I will have to have a possibility to train playing the piano silently. In a about two years I will start college and since I can't afford a huge place for my own playing an acoustic piano will be almost impossible.
So I think that I will go with a digital piano, but a pretty good one, and later in life when I have the money and the space for it I can get myself a decent acoustic piano.
Posted by: Morodiene

Re: Electric vs acoustic piano? Whats the best choice? - 01/02/13 08:41 AM

Originally Posted By: Inca
Thank you all for your answers, I really appreciate them.
I thought about my situation again and I do now think that I will have to get a digital one. The point is that in the near future I will have to have a possibility to train playing the piano silently. In a about two years I will start college and since I can't afford a huge place for my own playing an acoustic piano will be almost impossible.
So I think that I will go with a digital piano, but a pretty good one, and later in life when I have the money and the space for it I can get myself a decent acoustic piano.


Given the fact that you will be away at college, a digital is the way to go, and I recommend like a previous poster did, that you go for a stage piano. You will have to purchase a stand separately (as well as a bench), but the portability factor is really important. You may also want to consider buying a case for it. I'm not sure what the living conditions will be like at college, but chances are keeping the piano out at all times will not be an option (and might be better protection from random wandering fingers) to be able to put it away when you're done practicing.

I recommend a table stand which IMO is much better than the X ones which can be wobbly. You may be able to get some stage pianos with a nice stand, but you'll want to make sure it can fold up as storing it in a dorm room with already limited space might be an issue. I recommend this stand: table stand .

As for which digital, you will definitely want to go around and play as many as you can. Good ones to check out would be Roland (I like the feel, not as great a piano sound), Yamaha (better sound, not as great a feel IMO), and Casio Privias (a great bargain). You probably will want to bring headphones with you because the on-board speakers on many digitals are pretty poor.
Posted by: Larry C

Re: Electric vs acoustic piano? Whats the best choice? - 01/05/13 07:47 AM

I own both digitial and acoustic. I tend to agree with other that nothing sounds like a piano more than an acoustic piano ... that said college does demand a digital ... as an idea you might look for a good digital to practice on. Often your local church or the music department at school have digitals to practice on. At my college they even have a (very well worn) Steinway grand in the student union that has its own practice room for people to come in and play

Good luck, it's a life long journey
Posted by: mabraman

Re: Electric vs acoustic piano? Whats the best choice? - 01/05/13 08:37 AM

I'm a beginner, too, who owns just a DP but takes lessons on an acoustic. They are simply different worlds. DPs (in your/my budget) are nothing but decent emulations of real sounds and touch. Their keybed tends to imitate grands instead of uprights, which are (as far as I know) very much difficult to "ride". Cheap uprights are like cheap old cars: good to learn how to drive. DPs are like F1 emulators. If you have a decent ear, you'll never love them.Besides, an acoustic ressonance is felt with the whole body and that's only for the very high end DPs to reach. But they are all what most of us can afford.
Anyway, there aren't two identical accoustic pianos, so by definition there's no such thing as a realistic DP, in a strict sense.
In your situation I'd choose a decent slab to practice and have fun. But don't you expect to learn it all from it, as you'll need to be able to adapt your playing to each different piano you met.
Posted by: son

Re: Electric vs acoustic piano? Whats the best choice? - 01/05/13 09:41 AM

Originally Posted By: bennevis
I'm probably one of very few people here who play almost exclusively classical music but whose main instrument is a digital, for the very good reason that I can't have an acoustic where I live (in a small apartment surrounded by neighbors), because I'd never be able to play it at normal volumes: I use my DP - which has no speakers - exclusively with headphones. But I did choose my digital carefully, and it's one of very few that can emulate almost all the subtleties of an acoustic, so I've had no problem switching from it to acoustic grands, which I play on occasionally when I'm downtown.

But for a beginner, I'd still recommend that you learn on a good acoustic (or at least have regular access to one). The problem is that even today, very few DPs are good enough to allow the learner pianist to develop fine control of touch, tone, voicing and dynamics, and subtleties of pedaling. Those with weighted keys are OK to develop finger technique (up to a basic level), but for classical music, you need a lot more. It's all too easy to spot those pianists who've learnt exclusively on DPs from those who learnt playing on acoustics, when visiting piano showrooms.
Could you please tell us which digital you play, I am looking for one and sounds like you have a model I would be interested in. Thank you.
Posted by: bennevis

Re: Electric vs acoustic piano? Whats the best choice? - 01/05/13 10:25 AM

Originally Posted By: son
Originally Posted By: bennevis
I'm probably one of very few people here who play almost exclusively classical music but whose main instrument is a digital, for the very good reason that I can't have an acoustic where I live (in a small apartment surrounded by neighbors), because I'd never be able to play it at normal volumes: I use my DP - which has no speakers - exclusively with headphones. But I did choose my digital carefully, and it's one of very few that can emulate almost all the subtleties of an acoustic, so I've had no problem switching from it to acoustic grands, which I play on occasionally when I'm downtown.

But for a beginner, I'd still recommend that you learn on a good acoustic (or at least have regular access to one). The problem is that even today, very few DPs are good enough to allow the learner pianist to develop fine control of touch, tone, voicing and dynamics, and subtleties of pedaling. Those with weighted keys are OK to develop finger technique (up to a basic level), but for classical music, you need a lot more. It's all too easy to spot those pianists who've learnt exclusively on DPs from those who learnt playing on acoustics, when visiting piano showrooms.
Could you please tell us which digital you play, I am looking for one and sounds like you have a model I would be interested in. Thank you.


It's the Roland V-Piano, one of only two digitals that are fully modeled (the other one is its big brother, the V-Piano Grand which is the V-Piano plus a few extra presets housed in a grand piano cabinet with dedicated speakers) rather than sampled, i.e. the sound is generated from scratch when the key goes down, rather than from pre-existing recorded samples which are then processed, which is what happens on all other digitals. The modeling gives the V that amazing connection between the way you play and the sound that comes out, which IMO is almost uncanny in its realism: it's the only digital on which I can forget (while I'm playing, that is - its slab appearance doesn't look anything like a real piano: for that you need the Grand version, which costs a lot more) that I'm not playing on a fully mechanical instrument, with all its resonances and its response to touch and articulation etc.

It's exactly what it is: a purely acoustic piano substitute, with no concessions made to those who want some non-piano sounds. All of its 28 preset sounds (30 in the Grand version) are piano sounds, but all are fully customizable by the user - you can alter the tuning, the tone color, the pedal effects, the various resonances, the hammer hardness, the sustain and damping levels etc. to your heart's content. I have several of my own customizations based on all the well-known brands of acoustic pianos (from Steinway and Yamaha to Fazioli and Bösendorfer) stored in its memory - you can store up to 100.

But you really need to play it for yourself to find this out. In my experience, the more used you are to playing on acoustics (I'd been playing on acoustics since I was 10, and never tried digitals until three years ago, when I decided I needed my own piano, and then set off on an extensive search) and the more you're inclined towards classical music (where it's not just the notes but how you play them), the more you appreciate its qualities above those of other (sampled) digitals. I suggest that you don't just use the factory preset sounds when you audition, but increase all the resonances to +40 and the 'decay time' to +70 (which is about concert grand level). If you want a brighter sound (e.g. you prefer the Yamaha sound to a Steinway or Blüthner), just increase the tone color to +1 or +2.
Posted by: leemax

Re: Electric vs acoustic piano? Whats the best choice? - 01/05/13 10:40 AM

Like Bennevis, I play classical music pretty much exclusively, but the only instrument I have is a digital piano (Casio Celviano AP-620). I have owned or had access to an acoustic upright pretty much all of my life, (50-plus years!) buta couple of years ago, for various reasons, I decided to part with the acoustic and get the Celviano. Overall, I have been very happy with the choice, especially since my poor old acoustic was getting pretty long in the tooth and was going to be needing more and more work done on it. I'm happy with the soundand touch, I don't seem to have any problem switching to an AP when I have the chance to play one, but the main advantage for me is the ability to practice with headphones. Early morning is the best time for me to practice, and with an AP I just couldn't do that. There are, of course, lots of threads on here about the relative merits of DP and AP, but I just thought I would put my two cents in here. Since I think that many of us here play only for our own enjoyment and will never be performing in public we need to only have something that makes us happy when we play it, right? Cheers!
Posted by: 4evrBeginR

Re: Electric vs acoustic piano? Whats the best choice? - 01/05/13 02:09 PM

I agree with others' comments. As acoustic piano substitutes, digital pianos are getting pretty good, but they are not a perfect simulation. I don't know if there is always going to be a need for acoustic pianos, but at the moment, acoustic is still more enjoyable to listen to and practice on.

When evaluating whether to go acoustic or digital, I think one needs to preference an acoustic piano, but if there are requirements that an acoustic piano cannot address, silent practicing, lack of tuning budget, a digital may be better. An entry level Yamaha Clavinova (well within your budget) comes with a 5-year warranty, and they usually last much longer than just 5 years, so for the period of time you would own it, it is maintenance free. With acoustic pianos, you should budget at least $200 a year for tuning and servicing, which give you about 2 tunings; good tuners cost even more. If you buy a used acoustic piano, it's hard to predict how much service you will need initially. Then again you could get lucky.

A digital piano holds its tune better than any acoustic piano. In a discussion with another forum member, I think this static never changing nature of the digital piano eventually seemed fake to him, so ironically, a superior aspect of digital could become undesireable.

Finally an acoustic piano is more difficult to play well compared to a digital one. Personally, I have not yet reconciled whether it matters for me to play an acoustic piano well versus a digital one when I have no desire to perform. Logically, I only need to play MY piano well, but on occasion when I have the chance to play some rather nice acoustics, I'm always glad that I do practice on an acoustic. As I said, I haven't figured that one out yet.
Posted by: bennevis

Re: Electric vs acoustic piano? Whats the best choice? - 01/05/13 02:39 PM

Originally Posted By: 4evrBeginR


A digital piano holds its tune better than any acoustic piano. In a discussion with another forum member, I think this static never changing nature of the digital piano eventually seemed fake to him, so ironically, a superior aspect of digital could become undesireable.


Er....a digital never goes out of tune. Unless you deliberately detune it, which you can do with individual (virtual) strings on the V-Piano. And of course, many DPs also allow you to access unequal temperaments like Kirnberger, meantone, Werckmeister etc which can sound out of tune to modern ears.

I do agree with you about the 'static' nature of the sampling sound production in most DPs, which is probably the reason why many people get bored with their new DP within just a few months, and keep looking to 'upgrade', or buy new sound samples to upload on software to change the sound - there're plenty of threads in the Digital Piano forum about this.
Posted by: 4evrBeginR

Re: Electric vs acoustic piano? Whats the best choice? - 01/05/13 03:04 PM

Originally Posted By: bennevis

Er....a digital never goes out of tune. Unless you deliberately detune it, which you can do with individual (virtual) strings on the V-Piano. And of course, many DPs also allow you to access unequal temperaments like Kirnberger, meantone, Werckmeister etc which can sound out of tune to modern ears.

I do agree with you about the 'static' nature of the sampling sound production in most DPs, which is probably the reason why many people get bored with their new DP within just a few months, and keep looking to 'upgrade', or buy new sound samples to upload on software to change the sound - there're plenty of threads in the Digital Piano forum about this.


Yeah, the different temperaments are very interesting, and I've played with them a bit. It lets you appreciate how certain music would sound in their 'native' temperament. Still, to me, it's interesting but not so critical that would make me want to abandon an acoustic piano for a digital one.

I didn't realized it is the static nature of the DP that causes the upgrade obssession. I do notice DP-only owners do seem to upgrade often. I always thought they were just chasing technology, but never thought perhaps they're just bored of the sound. Interesting.
Posted by: bennevis

Re: Electric vs acoustic piano? Whats the best choice? - 01/05/13 03:39 PM

Originally Posted By: 4evrBeginR


Yeah, the different temperaments are very interesting, and I've played with them a bit. It lets you appreciate how certain music would sound in their 'native' temperament. Still, to me, it's interesting but not so critical that would make me want to abandon an acoustic piano for a digital one.

I didn't realized it is the static nature of the DP that causes the upgrade obssession. I do notice DP-only owners do seem to upgrade often. I always thought they were just chasing technology, but never thought perhaps they're just bored of the sound. Interesting.


It's probably also the fact that techies (which many DP owners seem to be) always want the latest, as you say. When I started joining in the DP forum, I was frankly amazed that so many DP owners already have several DPs and yet keep looking to upgrade. I simply regard (and use) my V-Piano as I would a normal acoustic, and have never become remotely bored with it (even if it isn't almost infinitely customizable - I've got several different customized piano sounds on it but only ever use a couple regularly): I'm in control of the sound, not the machine; and if I don't like what I hear, it's because I need to practise more......
Posted by: BDB

Re: Electric vs acoustic piano? Whats the best choice? - 01/05/13 04:46 PM

I am not convinced that digital pianos cannot go out of tune. I am not convinced that some of them are ever in tune, for that matter.
Posted by: bennevis

Re: Electric vs acoustic piano? Whats the best choice? - 01/05/13 05:11 PM

Originally Posted By: BDB
I am not convinced that digital pianos cannot go out of tune. I am not convinced that some of them are ever in tune, for that matter.


No, you're right; no DP is ever perfectly in tune because so-called 'equal temperament' means that no two notes are perfectly in tune with each other, other than octaves - possibly. And that's apart from the fact that the original grand pianos that sampled DPs get their sound from might not have been properly tuned anyway.... wink
Posted by: MacDan

Re: Electric vs acoustic piano? Whats the best choice? - 01/05/13 05:19 PM

Maybe that explains why, after not having played my DP for several weeks, when I went to do so yesterday it just didn't sound "right".

My acoustic piano is having the key bushings replaced and the action regulated, so I am forced to play my DP for practice until my tech returns with my grand action on Tuesday afternoon (I can't wait!!)

This was the longest I've gone without playing my DP, and I am amazed at how different it sounds after playing strictly on an acoustic for a month or so.

Dan
Posted by: Morodiene

Re: Electric vs acoustic piano? Whats the best choice? - 01/05/13 05:24 PM

Originally Posted By: MacDan
Maybe that explains why, after not having played my DP for several weeks, when I went to do so yesterday it just didn't sound "right".

My acoustic piano is having the key bushings replaced and the action regulated, so I am forced to play my DP for practice until my tech returns with my grand action on Tuesday afternoon (I can't wait!!)

This was the longest I've gone without playing my DP, and I am amazed at how different it sounds after playing strictly on an acoustic for a month or so.

Dan


My technician tunes my piano with the high notes higher and the low notes lower than what equal temperment dictates. It sounds much more "in tune" this way for some reason.

Also, I have heard older digital pianos that do go out of tune (and it's not a setting, but a malfunction somewhere).
Posted by: bennevis

Re: Electric vs acoustic piano? Whats the best choice? - 01/05/13 05:34 PM

Originally Posted By: Morodiene


My technician tunes my piano with the high notes higher and the low notes lower than what equal temperment dictates. It sounds much more "in tune" this way for some reason.



Yes, my V-Piano has what's called 'stretch tuning' which can be selected by the user, which does what your tuner did to your piano. Apparently the ear perceives high notes as sounding a little flat and low notes as too sharp, which stretch tuning 'corrects'.

I always did think that coloratura sopranos get flatter as they sing higher.... wink grin
Posted by: Morodiene

Re: Electric vs acoustic piano? Whats the best choice? - 01/05/13 05:38 PM

Originally Posted By: bennevis


I always did think that coloratura sopranos get flatter as they sing higher.... wink grin


That is usually because conductors and orchestras today tune much higher than composers of the time were working with. Verdi, for example, insisted all his operas be at A=432. This makes a HUGE difference when singing. smile
Posted by: Minnesota Marty

Re: Electric vs acoustic piano? Whats the best choice? - 01/05/13 05:39 PM

Originally Posted By: MacDan
This was the longest I've gone without playing my DP, and I am amazed at how different it sounds after playing strictly on an acoustic for a month or so.


He's seen the light! -- He's seen the light.
Posted by: bennevis

Re: Electric vs acoustic piano? Whats the best choice? - 01/05/13 05:40 PM

Originally Posted By: Morodiene
Originally Posted By: bennevis


I always did think that coloratura sopranos get flatter as they sing higher.... wink grin


That is usually because conductors and orchestras today tune much higher than composers of the time were working with. Verdi, for example, insisted all his operas be at A=432. This makes a HUGE difference when singing. smile


That's cheating! Pavarotti wouldn't want to be thought of as 'King of the high Bs'..... grin
Posted by: Morodiene

Re: Electric vs acoustic piano? Whats the best choice? - 01/05/13 05:57 PM

Originally Posted By: bennevis
Originally Posted By: Morodiene
Originally Posted By: bennevis


I always did think that coloratura sopranos get flatter as they sing higher.... wink grin


That is usually because conductors and orchestras today tune much higher than composers of the time were working with. Verdi, for example, insisted all his operas be at A=432. This makes a HUGE difference when singing. smile


That's cheating! Pavarotti wouldn't want to be thought of as 'King of the high Bs'..... grin


It's still a C, A=432 is only about 1/3 step :P . I heard he missed all of the high Cs in a performance of "a mes amis", so one wonders how it would have been for him a bit lower smile
Posted by: MacDan

Re: Electric vs acoustic piano? Whats the best choice? - 01/05/13 06:07 PM

Originally Posted By: Minnesota Marty
Originally Posted By: MacDan
This was the longest I've gone without playing my DP, and I am amazed at how different it sounds after playing strictly on an acoustic for a month or so.


He's seen the light! -- He's seen the light.


I saw it before I went back to my DP, believe me. I was playing my acoustic right after I got it, before my tech could tune it, the difference was so much better....

Dan
Posted by: bennevis

Re: Electric vs acoustic piano? Whats the best choice? - 01/05/13 07:01 PM

Originally Posted By: Morodiene
Originally Posted By: bennevis
Originally Posted By: Morodiene
Originally Posted By: bennevis


I always did think that coloratura sopranos get flatter as they sing higher.... wink grin


That is usually because conductors and orchestras today tune much higher than composers of the time were working with. Verdi, for example, insisted all his operas be at A=432. This makes a HUGE difference when singing. smile


That's cheating! Pavarotti wouldn't want to be thought of as 'King of the high Bs'..... grin


It's still a C, A=432 is only about 1/3 step :P . I heard he missed all of the high Cs in a performance of "a mes amis", so one wonders how it would have been for him a bit lower smile


Didn't he transpose down some arias as he got older and couldn't reach all those high notes? Including even his 'signature aria' Nessun dorma?
Posted by: Morodiene

Re: Electric vs acoustic piano? Whats the best choice? - 01/05/13 07:35 PM

Originally Posted By: bennevis
Originally Posted By: Morodiene
Originally Posted By: bennevis
Originally Posted By: Morodiene
Originally Posted By: bennevis


I always did think that coloratura sopranos get flatter as they sing higher.... wink grin


That is usually because conductors and orchestras today tune much higher than composers of the time were working with. Verdi, for example, insisted all his operas be at A=432. This makes a HUGE difference when singing. smile


That's cheating! Pavarotti wouldn't want to be thought of as 'King of the high Bs'..... grin


It's still a C, A=432 is only about 1/3 step :P . I heard he missed all of the high Cs in a performance of "a mes amis", so one wonders how it would have been for him a bit lower smile


Didn't he transpose down some arias as he got older and couldn't reach all those high notes? Including even his 'signature aria' Nessun dorma?


Ya, in the end, I think he just didn't care and would sing pretty much anything.
Posted by: 4evrBeginR

Re: Electric vs acoustic piano? Whats the best choice? - 01/05/13 08:49 PM

Originally Posted By: BDB
I am not convinced that digital pianos cannot go out of tune. I am not convinced that some of them are ever in tune, for that matter.


You are not the first tech that brought this up. I had two separate techs tell me that my DP (an older Clavinova) is out tune. When I brought this up on the DP Forum some years ago, the participants came down on me really hard, saying, it's impossible. I was and still am not knowledgeable enough with piano tuning to argue with the DP Forum folks one way or another, so I just let it drop.
Posted by: 4evrBeginR

Re: Electric vs acoustic piano? Whats the best choice? - 01/05/13 08:57 PM

I recently heard on Freakonomics Radio (http://www.freakonomics.com/2011/11/10/boo-who-a-new-freakonomics-radio-podcast/) that in his later years, his voice was gone, and his performance was really poor, yet no one ever gave any boos, so he kept going even though he was yelling more than singing.
Posted by: BDB

Re: Electric vs acoustic piano? Whats the best choice? - 01/05/13 10:26 PM

Originally Posted By: 4evrBeginR
Originally Posted By: BDB
I am not convinced that digital pianos cannot go out of tune. I am not convinced that some of them are ever in tune, for that matter.


You are not the first tech that brought this up. I had two separate techs tell me that my DP (an older Clavinova) is out tune. When I brought this up on the DP Forum some years ago, the participants came down on me really hard, saying, it's impossible. I was and still am not knowledgeable enough with piano tuning to argue with the DP Forum folks one way or another, so I just let it drop.


"In tune" is a relative term. I tune pianos much more accurately than most people will tune any other instrument, and yet, even pianos have anomalies. Digital pianos have different tolerances. The mantra that digital pianos are always in tune may reflect a lower tolerance than what I have for acoustic pianos.
Posted by: Norbert

Re: Electric vs acoustic piano? Whats the best choice? - 01/06/13 03:46 AM

Digital versus acoustic can only be answered that in over almost 30 years I have never seen one single, above intermediate level pianist, trade an acoustic to a digital

Indeed in every single case I can recall it always was the other way around.

Coincidence?

Norbert
Posted by: bennevis

Re: Electric vs acoustic piano? Whats the best choice? - 01/06/13 04:47 AM

Originally Posted By: Norbert
Digital versus acoustic can only be answered that in over almost 30 years I have never seen one single, above intermediate level pianist, trade an acoustic to a digital

Indeed in every single case I can recall it always was the other way around.

Coincidence?

Norbert


I think that there have been a few people over in the DP forum who've asked advice about replacing their acoustic with a digital....

In my case, reality sank in after holding out for decades hoping to buy my first piano (a Bosendorfer 290 of course... grin ), having been playing since childhood, mostly on Yamaha uprights at my parents' home and then at university: no space and neighbor problems. But I think I bought at the right time, when new technology (modeling) has at last resulted in digitals that really can satisfy and respond to the pianist's touch almost uncannily like the real thing. Within a few seconds of putting my headphones on and starting to play, I forget that my 'piano' is just a high-tech box of electronic trickery. And I can play at full pelt at any time of the day or night, with my neighbors none the wiser...
Posted by: Dave Horne

Re: Electric vs acoustic piano? Whats the best choice? - 01/06/13 10:18 AM

Originally Posted By: Norbert
Digital versus acoustic can only be answered that in over almost 30 years I have never seen one single, above intermediate level pianist, trade an acoustic to a digital

Indeed in every single case I can recall it always was the other way around.

Coincidence?

Norbert


Norbert, I traded in my Yamaha C3 about 14 years ago for a GranTouch. Does the GranTouch count as being digital in your eyes? I ask since so many here are in the either\or persuasion. I label the GranTouch and AvantGrand as hybrids. (I have since traded in my GranTouch for an AvantGrand.)

I also own a Yamaha CP5 stage piano for those situations when there is no acoustic piano or the acoustic piano in question is out of tune and\or poorly maintained.

I've made my living from playing\performing and I'm reasonably certain my level is above intermediate level. I know of several individuals who play above intermediate level who also traded in an acoustic piano for a hybrid.
Posted by: wouter79

Re: Electric vs acoustic piano? Whats the best choice? - 01/06/13 02:03 PM

>What's the best choice?

It's just a different instrument. I stay away from DPs, IMHO they sound boring, non-inspiring and dead if you play them through the speakers.
Posted by: JohnSprung

Re: Electric vs acoustic piano? Whats the best choice? - 01/06/13 02:18 PM

Originally Posted By: Dave B
Eventually you will want one of each.


That's what I've got, so, yup, I agree.

Digital's advantages are portability, silent practice with headphones, and low maintenance.

Acoustic gives you better sound and better feel. A lot better.

The more different instruments you get to practice on, the better you'll be able to cope with the unique touch and sound of whatever other pianos you encounter.
Posted by: musicpassion

Re: Electric vs acoustic piano? Whats the best choice? - 01/06/13 09:18 PM

Originally Posted By: Norbert
Digital versus acoustic can only be answered that in over almost 30 years I have never seen one single, above intermediate level pianist, trade an acoustic to a digital

Indeed in every single case I can recall it always was the other way around.

Coincidence?

Norbert


I agree this would be the more common scenerio. Interesting that a few members on this forum have gone in the other direction.
Posted by: Norbert

Re: Electric vs acoustic piano? Whats the best choice? - 01/07/13 02:02 AM

Quote:
Interesting that a few members on this forum have gone in the other direction.


It's easy to understand from a sheer 'convenience' factor.
I myself own an advanced Roland keyboard and love playing it, mixing sounds, recording etc.

But it hasn't made me better player yet.

Love to hear from those who have made different experience.

Norbert
Posted by: bennevis

Re: Electric vs acoustic piano? Whats the best choice? - 01/07/13 06:38 AM

Originally Posted By: Norbert
Quote:
Interesting that a few members on this forum have gone in the other direction.


It's easy to understand from a sheer 'convenience' factor.
I myself own an advanced Roland keyboard and love playing it, mixing sounds, recording etc.

But it hasn't made me better player yet.

Love to hear from those who have made different experience.

Norbert


Since buying my DP, I've certainly become a much better pianist, but that's (I believe) mainly due to the fact that I now have a properly responsive instrument to practise on anytime I wanted to, whereas before, I'd have to make do with whatever acoustic piano I came across, whether in a church, hall, shopping mall, or stately home or hotel. Only the ones in showrooms were reliably tuned and prepped: I occasionally hired a practice room for a few hours to 'rewire' my piano technique. (I despised digitals then and wouldn't ever go near one... grin).

I certainly became a master of adapting to uneven action, sticky keys, missing/broken strings, even missing keys as well as all sorts of tuning (including where the high notes were lower than the low ones... grin - my imagination had to work overtime to convince me I was still playing the right notes), but they didn't do much for my technique other than barely maintaining it at the standard I had when I was at university.

Interestingly, a couple of years ago, I revisited my parents at their home where the little Yamaha console-sized vertical that I learnt on as a child still resides. It hadn't been played on or tuned since I left home (but that was no problem for me, with all my past experience wink ) - I was just curious to see what its action was like compared to my own new digital, because I remember having a very hard time adapting to the ones I had to play on for exams during that time. (My teacher then came to our house for my piano lessons). Its action was in fact amazingly light and shallow, and the dynamics very difficult to control, and its tonal character was as I remembered it - very bright and shallow even playing softly, becoming more harsh rather than more brilliant when playing loudly. I certainly prefer playing on my DP ; in fact, I think that even a good sampled DP - despite all its limitations on responsiveness to touch - would be preferable. (I'm of course comparing with that Yamaha in the state it would be when it has been tuned and regulated, not in the condition it was then).