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Fully weighted vs. semi-weighted keys #2370657
12/30/11 12:19 AM
12/30/11 12:19 AM
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soupcat Offline OP
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I'm an absolute beginner, maybe playing a month and currently learning from an Alfred lesson book. Ultimately I would like to join a group, do covers, rock, pop, you get the idea.

I'm learning/playing on a Yamaha YPG-235, it has semi-weighted action. I actually like its action, although at this point I really don't know any other.

At this early stage, would it be more beneficial to be learning on fully weighted keys? Down the road, I'll be wanting to play organ, piano, ep's, the works. My concern is to build the best foundation possible. When I briefly try fully weighted keys a GC or SA, I find that they feel heavy/slow, and think I actually prefer semi-weighted. But at this point I suspect it is just a matter of what I am accustomed to. I want to develop into a well rounded, decent, keys player. Should I be on fully weighted keys? Where did you start?

Last edited by soupcat; 12/30/11 12:20 AM.
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Re: Fully weighted vs. semi-weighted keys [Re: soupcat] #2370662
12/30/11 12:41 AM
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Joe Muscara Offline
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If you seriously want to be able to play a real piano, you need at least fully weighted keys, if not time on an actual acoustic piano.

I once thought fully weighted was enough, but once I got a real piano, there was no going back. Fully weighted has come a long way though, and are often a great substitute for gigs or other situations where real piano cannot be used.


The great thing about music is that there's always something to learn. The frustrating thing about music is that there's always something to learn!
Re: Fully weighted vs. semi-weighted keys [Re: soupcat] #2370672
12/30/11 01:26 AM
12/30/11 01:26 AM
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Originally Posted By: soupcat
IAt this early stage, would it be more beneficial to be learning on fully weighted keys? Down the road, I'll be wanting to play organ, piano, ep's, the works. My concern is to build the best foundation possible. When I briefly try fully weighted keys a GC or SA, I find that they feel heavy/slow, and think I actually prefer semi-weighted. But at this point I suspect it is just a matter of what I am accustomed to. I want to develop into a well rounded, decent, keys player. Should I be on fully weighted keys? Where did you start?

I started on a combination of piano and semi-weighted keys. I spent a few years with SW only and wish I hadn't. It wasn't until I started practicing on piano and FW keys almost exclusively that I began to feel my technique improve. If you're just starting out I suggest going with a fully weighted action. It's far easier and more beneficial to go from a FW to a SW than the other way around.


Instrumentation is meaningless - a song either stands on its own merit, or it requires bells and whistles to cover its lack of adequacy, much less quality. - kanker
Re: Fully weighted vs. semi-weighted keys [Re: MonksDream] #2370673
12/30/11 01:35 AM
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Agreed on learning with FW first. I started by only playing acoustic piano, and much later seriously taking up organ. Even now I have found that when I leave my heavier FW piano/synth at the band practice room and just bring my lighter SW synth home to practice with, my hands are a bit slower at first when using the FW one again.

Last edited by Bossbandbob; 12/30/11 01:36 AM.

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Re: Fully weighted vs. semi-weighted keys [Re: Bossbandbob] #2370683
12/30/11 02:05 AM
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soupcat Offline OP
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Sounds like my suspicion may have been correct then. Acoustic piano is not an option, but I can buy a good fully weighted board and I guess I should do so. I want to lay the best foundation possible. Man, I've really got the bug already. I've always loved the sound of many types of keys and playing has sealed the deal. There is magic in those keys.

Last edited by soupcat; 12/30/11 02:06 AM.
Re: Fully weighted vs. semi-weighted keys [Re: soupcat] #2370722
12/30/11 10:07 AM
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You may not be able to get an acoustic, but play 'em whenever you can get your mitts on 'em. Some will be junk and won't do you much good, but some will be golden and you'll never want to leave.


The great thing about music is that there's always something to learn. The frustrating thing about music is that there's always something to learn!
Re: Fully weighted vs. semi-weighted keys [Re: Joe Muscara] #2370734
12/30/11 11:21 AM
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I'll play Devil's advocate and say it depends on what you want to do.

My background is piano but if you want to play synths or be an organist I don't really see the need to play piano. The physical mechanics involved in playing the different actions are different. Playing a piano isn't going to be all that beneficial if you want to just play synths and organ and visa versa.

Last edited by CEB; 12/30/11 02:01 PM.

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Re: Fully weighted vs. semi-weighted keys [Re: CEB] #2370753
12/30/11 12:38 PM
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Not having a real grand piano action to play regularly since 1998 or so, I finally got myself a grand piano (and had to put some work into that to make it playable, details on another thread). But I've been playing the heck out of it in the last few weeks. Before that, my main keyboard was a decent but fairly light hammer action keyboard (Ensoniq MR76, which has a Fatar action).

My wife just said to me yesterday that she can tell I'm getting the hang of playing a real acoustic again! I had to agree; it's been an adjustment. And that's compared to a hammer action keyboard.

First, let me gripe about terminology, which I admit is beside the point here. We should use "simply weighted" and "hammer action" instead of "semi-weighted" and "fully weighted". The difference isn't the amount of weight; it's the fact that with hammer-action keyboards, the key throws a second separate weight, using leverage and with torque feedback. With a "semi-weighted" keboard, there's just a weight stuck beneath the key.

This difference between semi-weighted and hammer-action is crucial. A semi-weighted keyboard simply doesn't have a similar dynamic response, and doesn't promote the building of muscles and techniques that are required for expressive piano playing.

It's *far* easier to learn on hammer action and transition to semi-weighted or unweighted than vice versa. Yes, there are new techniques to learn to play authentic organ and synth parts that one can't do on piano. But the list is far shorter and less demanding overall, than going the other way.

I've said this before on this forum; forgive me for repeating it. When I grew up, synthesizers were few and far between, and monophonic. Most young keyboard players were ether pianists or organists (or both). When a bunch of us would get together around an organ, of course the organists sounded best but the pianists could still make cool music. Around a piano, most of the organists were pretty much stumped. (Of course, there are exceptions -- this is a generalization but nonetheless a valid lesson.)

CEB is correct, though: the answer for you depends on your goals. If you want the least limitations, focus on hammer-weighted to begin with and then branch out, learning the advantages and disadvantages of each style as you go. If you feel confident you're unlikely to want to play piano, then stick with semi-weighted or unweighted.

If you find yourself forced for some reason to stick with semi-weighted; don't give up. Just be aware that you'll have a bigger uphill climb when transitioning to piano, that's all. Not insurmountable. But you're far better off working it the other way.

Joe has a great point too. Up through my late 20's I made a habit of prowling wherever I was (usually UMICH campus area) for pianos to play, in addition to playing gawdawful uprights in various bars. As a result, I could quickly adapt to any piano I found myself in front of. Since then (I'm 54) I've mostly played only my own piano, and I'm struggling to regain my old flexibility.

Playing all the pianos you can find is a very good exercise.

Re: Fully weighted vs. semi-weighted keys [Re: JeffLearman] #2370763
12/30/11 01:24 PM
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If you don't play a real piano action early in your development, I just don't think you will develop the muscles and muscle memory to be able to pick it up well later.

I suspect the reason for that is that you will never practice at the intensity and put in the time necessary later in your career, as you do when first starting.

So learn on a real piano if you can. Piano translates to organ better than organ translates to piano, although they each have their own techniques too.


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Re: Fully weighted vs. semi-weighted keys [Re: soupcat] #2370767
12/30/11 01:35 PM
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Originally Posted By: soupcat
I want to develop into a well rounded, decent, keys player.....

Welcome to the club.....and to the forum!


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Re: Fully weighted vs. semi-weighted keys [Re: Moonglow] #2370812
12/30/11 03:55 PM
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soupcat Offline OP
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Great food for thought here guys. Thanks for sharing your knowledge and experience.

I enjoy a wide and eclectic variety of music. Where I see myself headed musically, is primarily synth and organ for rock. But at the same time I do love piano from the style of playing in classic bands like Supertramp, to its use in recent dance and R&B.

I'm leaning towards getting a keyboard with a good hammer action. I can change up 6 months or a year down the road, but at this time that might be what the doctor ordered.

I'll take the advice to play on as many pianos as possible, and I'll expand that to include as many keyboards.

Re: Fully weighted vs. semi-weighted keys [Re: Moonglow] #2370814
12/30/11 04:00 PM
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Reads like the OP wants to be a KB player moreso than a pianist. Besides, very few pianos are provided on gigs nowadays. More than likely, electronic KBs will be schlepped.

IMO, the OP will be fine learning on a semi-/simply weighted or fully weighted/hammer action KB because the main objective should be learning how to play music. cool


PD

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Re: Fully weighted vs. semi-weighted keys [Re: ProfD] #2370833
12/30/11 04:42 PM
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I think there are also stylistic considerations. If an important aspect of "well rounded" to you will include using a piano sound to learn roots influences like Otis Spann style blues, Johnny Johnson/Jerry Lee Lewis early rock and roll, Ammons/Lux-Lewis style Boogie Woogie and Southern Rock stylings then I think fully weighted is essential. This is the main area in the general "rock-pop" field where I find semi Weighted absolutely lacking and these areas are important to me. However, for most other (esp. more modern) rock-pop idioms semi weighted works fine for me.


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