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digital or acoustic piano


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#1 adultpianist

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Posted 02 August 2020 - 17:33

My cousin has three daughters and a wife who all playa piano (not so much the wife).  Theye have a very old accoustic upright piano and some of the keys do not work and it is out of tune and cannot be tuned.    They want to get a new one but another accoustic.  I think they would be better with a digital because you can use headphones and practice as much as you like without disturbing others and it never goes out of tune so I think that would be a good idea but they want another acoustic.  I think that unless you are going to pay an awfu lot of money for a very good accoustic then its not worth it,   I paid £700 for my digital 10 years ago which is 6 times what they paid for their clapped out accoustic

 

what would you recommend


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#2 EllieD

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Posted 03 August 2020 - 07:42

I'm delighted with my Yamaha digital, and was amazed how similar it was to the Yamaha acoustic piano I played in my exam. I love that you can turn the volume down a bit, much nicer if you're doing a lot of practice. I'm pretty sure my digital would take me to Grade 8 standard. I paid around £1,700 for it, about half the price the exam piano cost. But if money isn't an object for your cousin's family, they may as well get the real thing. Digital is great, but whenever I do get the chance to paly a decent acoustic ... well, obviously that is so lovely!


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#3 hudson1984

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Posted 03 August 2020 - 13:24

if they all play, then disturbing each other probably isn't an issue. 

 

plus if they're spending the money they could always go for a silent type piano

 

I have both. My acoustic was about £800 and I love it! love the tone, love the feel love everything about it. 

I also have a Roland Digital piano, was about the same price - the only thing that holds this back is the poor speakers, so whilst the tones are good, they are lost in the lack of volume. 

 

In terms of learning, being able to turn it down is a pretty bad thing to have - sit you at an acoustic and you'd be hard pressed to know how it copes with different pressures under the finger, whilst you'll be able to play the pieces, your dynamics will be all over the place. That being said, you'd soon get used to it. 

 

I've played some amazing digital pianos but largely it was the speakers that made the whole thing more "real" so that's where alot of the money is. 

 

I think you can get very good acoustics for a reasonable price, you can get digitals at a reasonable price too - really it comes down to what you're after and what you need. 

 

I would wager someone who got to grade 8 via an acoustic would have an easier time adapting to an digital than vice versa. 


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#4 BadStrad

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Posted 03 August 2020 - 13:37

If I were sure I wanted a piano, I would always go with an acoustic, unless the instrument needed to be mobile (gigging, accompanying, teaching etc). A well maintained acoustic will last for decades.

If I were advising someone who was thinking about learning (ie. hadn't fully committed) then I'd say to consider an electronic instrument as they are easier to store, are easier to move and more easily sold on.
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#5 EllieD

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Posted 04 August 2020 - 07:32

 

 

In terms of learning, being able to turn it down is a pretty bad thing to have - sit you at an acoustic and you'd be hard pressed to know how it copes with different pressures under the finger, whilst you'll be able to play the pieces, your dynamics will be all over the place. That being said, you'd soon get used to it. 

 

...

 

I would wager someone who got to grade 8 via an acoustic would have an easier time adapting to an digital than vice versa. 

 

Being able to turn down the volume is not a "bad thing to have". It has a lot of uses when practicing if, like me, you do quite a lot. You can choose when to alter the volume. Practicing scales or learning the notes of a Bach Fugue you are beginning - great. Fine tuning your Chopin Nocturne - better not! The sound from an acoustic will always be better than that from a digital, as the sound from an acoustic comes from the whole body of the instrument, not just from speakers. It was very easy for me to adapt to the Yamaha acoustic in my exam, despite all my practice being on a digital. (Admittedly, they were both Yamaha's!)


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#6 musicalmalc

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Posted 05 August 2020 - 06:43

Using headphones with a digital piano unfortunately does not necessarily mean you avoid disturbing others as you can still hear the clunk of the keys which can be more annoying than simply turning it down low. It does have other advantages such as being a lot easier to move, not having to be careful where you position it due to heating and no tuning costs. It partly depends on their budget - a good digital (and I wouldn't go near one of the latest hybrids as you could get a good s/h acoustic for a lot less) IMHO is better than a bad acoustic but I would have an acoustic by choice although I'm living with digital until I move house and have space for a baby grand (lifetime ambition getting nearer). 


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#7 vron

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Posted 05 August 2020 - 08:47

I also think it i is a very personal choice. some will be happy with either and some wont.


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#8 Aquarelle

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Posted 05 August 2020 - 22:42

In our hot and damp climate down here, and with the difficulty of getting a piano tuner, the problem of small living accommodation and younger brothers and sisters who need to sleep etc. I always advise my pupils to buy an electronic piano. Some do, some don't. The ones who don't find themselves a bargain on line and are delighted with it. Then the pupil starts to complain that the keys stick, that some don't sound, the pedal is broken and worst of all, they can't play along with their Piano Adventure CDs because their piano is so out of tune. Months later the tuner arrives and does what can be done - which isn't much. And a bit later on it all starts to go wrong again. But mummy and daddy are still convinced they have made a good buy because electronic pianos are really just not good enough.


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#9 Crock

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Posted 06 August 2020 - 11:57

Using headphones with a digital piano unfortunately does not necessarily mean you avoid disturbing others as you can still hear the clunk of the keys which can be more annoying than simply turning it down low. It does have other advantages such as being a lot easier to move, not having to be careful where you position it due to heating and no tuning costs. It partly depends on their budget - a good digital (and I wouldn't go near one of the latest hybrids as you could get a good s/h acoustic for a lot less) IMHO is better than a bad acoustic but I would have an acoustic by choice although I'm living with digital until I move house and have space for a baby grand (lifetime ambition getting nearer). 

 

Clunk of the keys with digitals - yes, indeed. I live in a flat and the neighbours below complained about the key noise which is nothing to do with using headphones.  I asked on this forum about this and following recommendations bought some sound absorbing mats to put under the piano which appear to have worked - at least no more complaints, but then the neighbours have moved out and there are new people below.

 

There are loads of old threads on the forum about digital vs. acoustic. At the level I play (approximately grade 8) I can't see much of a difference.  My piano teacher had to move from a house to a flat some time ago and sadly couldn't take their grand.  The teacher bought a top of the range digital and is happy with it; they do mention from time to time some subtle differences in the response of the keys but I can't detect this myself and the discussion all goes way above my head!  


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#10 corenfa

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Posted 06 August 2020 - 12:15

The only deficiency I find with digital pianos is not being able to get different tone colours. I can play my acoustic in such a way that it sounds very harsh. With my digital no matter how I whack it, it sounds good. That's not meant to suggest I want to play in such a way that it sounds harsh, just an indication that such a difference in capability exists. For most people, this is not a consideration anyway.
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#11 ejw21

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Posted 06 August 2020 - 13:29

There are very good arguments for both and it very much depends on individual circumstances. I have both (and consider myself very lucky! space, neighbours etc.) but for many years I had a digital alone. Same reasons as musicalmalc.

 

musicalmalc, exciting lifetime ambition! 


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#12 EllieD

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Posted 07 August 2020 - 10:39

The only deficiency I find with digital pianos is not being able to get different tone colours. I can play my acoustic in such a way that it sounds very harsh. With my digital no matter how I whack it, it sounds good. That's not meant to suggest I want to play in such a way that it sounds harsh, just an indication that such a difference in capability exists. For most people, this is not a consideration anyway.

 

If I come crashing down too hard on a note on my digital, I know about it! Mine can sound truly horrible if you want it to (not that I do, as yet, of course!! It's only by mistake at the moment). And my examiner complimented my use of tone colour in one of my Grade 5 pieces that I had only practiced on my digital, so while I am sure an acoustic is better than a digital in this regard, it would seem exploring tone colour on a digital may not be completely impossible.


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#13 corenfa

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Posted 07 August 2020 - 13:12


The only deficiency I find with digital pianos is not being able to get different tone colours. I can play my acoustic in such a way that it sounds very harsh. With my digital no matter how I whack it, it sounds good. That's not meant to suggest I want to play in such a way that it sounds harsh, just an indication that such a difference in capability exists. For most people, this is not a consideration anyway.


If I come crashing down too hard on a note on my digital, I know about it! Mine can sound truly horrible if you want it to (not that I do, as yet, of course!! It's only by mistake at the moment). And my examiner complimented my use of tone colour in one of my Grade 5 pieces that I had only practiced on my digital, so while I am sure an acoustic is better than a digital in this regard, it would seem exploring tone colour on a digital may not be completely impossible.

Certainly not impossible, but I wouldn't have been able to do a diploma only on a digital. I don't mean just achieving a nice tone, but achieving different sorts of tone. I actually have no idea how this is done either by me or other pianists, but I know I can do it on an acoustic piano now, and I can't on even a very good digital because it simply doesn't support it.
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