How long do they Last?

Posted by: peterws

How long do they Last? - 02/20/13 10:24 AM

What`s a reasonable expection for the life of a DP? Since some are seriously expensive, will they be fixable in 20 - 30 years from now? You can still get 25yo Yamahas on Ebay which change hands for decent money . . . like nearly £200 for a CLP 250 . . .
Posted by: Cmin

Re: How long do they Last? - 02/20/13 10:35 AM

I still use my Roland HP-3000s from 1986/87. I only needed to insert new padding for the keys twice or clean the contacts.
It's like an old car - you can still fix it yourself.
I don't know if the newer ones would last that long.
Posted by: slipperykeys

Re: How long do they Last? - 02/20/13 11:13 AM

I have a Roland RD 300s that I bought in March 1990. It was used regularly and still works perfectly, as a home piano, never "gigged" and retired gracefully in August 2011 when I replaced it with a Roland RD 700NX.

I can't bring myself to part with it though.
Posted by: justpin

Re: How long do they Last? - 02/20/13 11:18 AM

I don't think digital pianos should be counted in such a manner.

I think they should be counted in played hours rather than linear age.

As a DP could last 50 years if it was left to gather dust.

But hammered everyday by hamfisted people like me may not last so long. My personal CDP receives a 1-2 hour battering everyday. A number of the keys are loose and wobbly, some of the felt has fallen away on some of the keys as well so they clack when you hit them and clack when they return.
Posted by: StefaanBelgium

Re: How long do they Last? - 02/20/13 11:50 AM

@justpin: and when did you buy your DP ?
Posted by: LesCharles73

Re: How long do they Last? - 02/20/13 11:54 AM

Digital pianos are nearly infinitely fixable. Getting parts is another thing. Some manufacturers keep spare parts widely available or use very little proprietary hardware, while others use extremely specific parts which may or may not be replenished once the next big thing comes out.

In terms of years, about ten is the basic useful lifespan of a digital piano. However, many can reach 15 or 20 depending on how it's used, and how picky the player is (or isn't) in terms of having the latest sounds.

Synthesizers can be a different story in that some actually seek out older models either in search of sought-after classic sounds, or after having made the decision that a newer keyboard may not have enough of an advantage over a older model to justify the added cost. The "perfect piano" isn't usually at the top of the list in these cases. That said, there are plenty of exceptions. I've just noticed that synth players are more apt to buy used models or keep their boards around longer. One other reason for this is programming. Once you've learned your way around a synth or stored sounds that would be painstaking to recreate or transfer, letting go can be a hard thing to do.
Posted by: gvfarns

Re: How long do they Last? - 02/20/13 12:11 PM

Tough to say. There are few digitals from 30 years ago around and they were not constructed the same way as ours today. Digitals have been developing for some time, which means people typically get/got rid of them because the new ones are so much better, not because they wear out.

I can't really say whether we are near the end of the era of "rapid" DP development, but I still think if you buy a typical digital today you will most likely eventually get rid of it because it's not as good as the new ones coming out, not because it wore out. If DP technology progresses only slowly from here on out (which seems likely) that may not be all that soon.
Posted by: dewster

Re: How long do they Last? - 02/20/13 12:13 PM

Originally Posted By: LesCharles73
In terms of years, about ten is the basic useful lifespan of a digital piano. However, many can reach 15 or 20 depending on how it's used, and how picky the player is (or isn't) in terms of having the latest sounds.

I agree with this assessment. It also depends on how many power surges you get, whether there's a battery in there anywhere to crap out / leak and corrode things, and how well it was designed and constructed in the first place. And how quickly you get sick of hearing the same tiny sample set through cheap speakers over and over (and over).
Posted by: CarloPiano

Re: How long do they Last? - 02/21/13 05:57 AM

I bought my first DP in 1988. It's been a long time from then so I barely remember exact dates but I think it started to fail around 5 years after a very heavy use. The right pedal broke and a pair of keys got sticky. I repaired myself, I bought a pedal replacement and changed an inside stripe that has become rigid (following the instructions given by the seller). From that time I used my DP seldom and right now it has three sticky keys, I replaced again the stripe but the problem didn't solve this time so I guess I'd must call to tech service (I don't know if it is worth as I have now a modern Roland).

Now, as other people said, we don't know how the DP's built on these years will react to our playing.

Added info: the electronics are just perfect after 25 years. The only think is failing is the action.
Posted by: peterws

Re: How long do they Last? - 02/21/13 06:37 AM

"And how quickly you get sick of hearing the same tiny sample set through cheap speakers over and over (and over)."

Are you taking your ears off the music, maybe? Because even the ropy DP`S (not to mention some o` the acoustics) would sound better than the instruments Beethoven and Co. had to use . . . imo
Posted by: ando

Re: How long do they Last? - 02/21/13 07:22 AM

Originally Posted By: peterws
"And how quickly you get sick of hearing the same tiny sample set through cheap speakers over and over (and over)."

Are you taking your ears off the music, maybe? Because even the ropy DP`S (not to mention some o` the acoustics) would sound better than the instruments Beethoven and Co. had to use . . . imo


Have you ever actually heard an early piano - as in stood in the same room as one that was being played, or played one?
Posted by: peterws

Re: How long do they Last? - 02/21/13 11:47 AM

I had an 1850`s Broadwood which was really good. But going back to the roots as it were, I haven`t heard one o` those. I just wondered what these geniii had to put up with . .
Posted by: justpin

Re: How long do they Last? - 02/21/13 02:27 PM

Its been about a year, also the CDP has moved about 5 times I bashed keys FFF style AND used to bash for 3-4 hours a day too.

Its playable its just irritating to hear clack on a couple of the keys. Lucky they are at the top of the keyboard.
Posted by: slipperykeys

Re: How long do they Last? - 02/22/13 05:08 AM

Originally Posted By: justpin
I don't think digital pianos should be counted in such a manner.

I think they should be counted in played hours rather than linear age.

As a DP could last 50 years if it was left to gather dust.

But hammered everyday by hamfisted people like me may not last so long. My personal CDP receives a 1-2 hour battering everyday. A number of the keys are loose and wobbly, some of the felt has fallen away on some of the keys as well so they clack when you hit them and clack when they return.


Sorry, but I failed to start a stopwatch every time I played it.
Posted by: rocklandpiano

Re: How long do they Last? - 02/22/13 05:49 AM

Pianos are among the most durable of personal possessions. Admired for their fine cabinetry and treasured for their beautiful sound, pianos usually lead a pampered life in the best room of the house. They're often thought of as permanent family fixtures, passed down to children and grandchildren. Their large size and weight give them the illusion of being able to last forever.

While pianos do last a long time, remember they're really just large machines made of wood, felt, and metal. Over the years, seasonal changes take their toll, stressing the wooden parts and straining glue joints. Felt hammers are pounded flat after thousands of collisions with the piano's strings, and metal parts corrode and weaken. Years of friction wear out the one thousand felt bushings in the action. How long a piano will last varies greatly, depending upon maintenance and repair, usage, climate, and quality of manufacture.

Here's a sketch of the life cycle of a typical home piano:

First Year

The pitch of a new piano drops considerably, as the new strings stretch and the structure settles. If the piano receives the manufacturer's recommended three to four tunings during this time, it will stay at the correct pitch, allowing strings and structure to reach a stable equilibrium. Without these important first tunings, any later tuning will involve a large pitch raise, leaving the piano unstable.

Two to Ten Years

The pitch stabilizes, assuming regular tunings (and additional climate control devices if needed). The mechanical parts of the piano's action wear and settle too. This causes two changes: first, the touch of the piano becomes less responsive as the parts go out of adjustment. Secondly, the tone changes as the hammers flatten and grooves develop from repeated collisions with the strings. Periodic regulation and voicing, important parts of a complete maintenance program, correct these changes.

Ten to Thirty Years

Wear of action parts continues, the extent depending upon how hard and how often the piano is played. Normal regulation and voicing will maintain good tone and touch if usage is moderate.

If the piano suffers wide temperature and humidity swings, it will begin to show permanent deterioration during this time: loose tuning pins, rusty strings, soundboard cracks, and aging of the finish.

Thirty to fifty years:

After years of playing, the hammers and other action parts will be quite worn. Years of seasonal changes cause bass strings to sound dull and treble tone to lose clarity. Eventually, adjustment alone will not correct these problems, and some parts will need replacing to restore the original tone and touch.

Over fifty years:

A few geographic areas with mild climates have older pianos still in good condition. Well-built, well-designed pianos can still be playable at this advanced age if they've had good care and moderate use.
Posted by: StefaanBelgium

Re: How long do they Last? - 02/22/13 06:50 AM

@Justpin: Wow,only one year to wear out some parts ! What's the make of your DP if I may ask and what does the C in 'CDP' stand for ?
Posted by: peterws

Re: How long do they Last? - 02/22/13 07:45 AM

Given that you can easily pay as much for a car as for a piano. it seems like cost for cost including maintenance, they may be similar . . .no petrol or tax payable on the piano however.

There`s an opportunity here for our revered Chancellor . . . heh heh
Posted by: Dave Horne

Re: How long do they Last? - 02/22/13 08:12 AM

There are laws in place to protect consumers. I only know this information second hand but when I was given a tour of the Johannus Organ factory I was told they keep replacement parts for at least ten years. I don't remember if 10 years is what was proscribed by law though.
Posted by: MacMacMac

Re: How long do they Last? - 02/22/13 12:07 PM

I hope that maintaining replacement parts is prescribed, not proscribed. smile