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Nord - Piano on Waterfall Keys, or Hammond on Weighted Keys? #2696349 06/12/15 04:51 PM
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iluvchiclets Offline OP
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Hullo!

I think it's only a matter of time before I buy either a Nord Electro 4 (or possibly a "3") now that the Electro 5 has been released. I'm seeing a lot more activity on the used Nord market.

I was curious what user's experiences were with the piano vs. organ keys? I was really enjoying an Electro 4 HP today, and I thought playing the organ felt very natural on the weighted keys. In contrast, everytime I try the piano sounds on a "waterfall" keyed Electro, it feels odd to me. Almost as if I have trouble controlling the dynamics.

Also on the 73-key Electro 4 I get the expanded memory...very nice.

Has anyone regretted going one way or another after making a purchase? (That is, they found it impossible to adjust to the waterfall organ keys when playing acoustic piano sounds - or found it hard to play Hammond on the piano-style keys?)
My guess is I could get used to anything, but was curious if any readers had an opinion?


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Re: Nord - Piano on Waterfall Keys, or Hammond on Weighted Keys? [Re: iluvchiclets] #2696353 06/12/15 05:03 PM
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Both compromises are pretty serious.

There are some weighted actions that aren't totally awful for organ; there are some un/semi-weighted actions that aren't totally awful for piano; and unfortunately, Nord doesn't offer either of these options in the Electro.

So it really comes down to what you need to play. If your organ playing is largely chord comping, you can get by on the weighted action, but if you're going to be going to town with playing that really requires organ technique, you're not going to want to play on the HP action. Likewise, if you're banging out rock and roll piano chords a la Jerry Lee Lewis, you can get by with the Nord SW... but if you are actually going to need to be playing piano parts with subtlety and dynamics, you're not going to get it out of that action.

If you really need to play piano and organ with any semblance of sophisticated piano and organ techniques, neither board is a good option. You'll either need two boards, or at least some board with an action that does a better job at compromising between the two.


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Re: Nord - Piano on Waterfall Keys, or Hammond on Weighted Keys? [Re: AnotherScott] #2696356 06/12/15 05:20 PM
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If I was in that situation - I would choose the weighted action. Partially because I'm more of a piano player than an organ player. Also because adding a decent, cheap, lightweight external controller (like Samson Graphite) is easier than finding a decent, cheap, lightweight piano-action controller.

YMMV.


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Re: Nord - Piano on Waterfall Keys, or Hammond on Weighted Keys? [Re: AnotherScott] #2696357 06/12/15 05:22 PM
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Personally, I don't care for the Nord Electro SW action for organ, synth, or pianos. There, I said it. [ducks] Its tight and springy with no good sense of where the bottom is. If you're an organ guy, compare to a B3 or if you don't have access, an Xk-3 or 3c and you'll see what I mean. If you're a piano guy, as stated above, it's a big compromise to play hammer swing instruments on this SW Fatar action.

If it were me and I had me heart set on a Nord Electro, I'd go for the HP which is light as piano actions go to begin with. YMMV


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Re: Nord - Piano on Waterfall Keys, or Hammond on Weighted Keys? [Re: ElmerJFudd] #2696359 06/12/15 05:39 PM
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I went for the HP because I couldn't stand that springy SW action. Of course I can't do organ specific techniques like single finger glisses and such. But with the help of the left hand you can compensate a little.


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Re: Nord - Piano on Waterfall Keys, or Hammond on Weighted Keys? [Re: Jazzwee] #2696372 06/12/15 06:07 PM
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I have concluded after a lifetime of playing that if you are serious about playing organ, and serious about playing piano, only 2 keyboards will do.


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Re: Nord - Piano on Waterfall Keys, or Hammond on Weighted Keys? [Re: mate stubb] #2696375 06/12/15 06:15 PM
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I can't even believe this is a question?


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Re: Nord - Piano on Waterfall Keys, or Hammond on Weighted Keys? [Re: Outkaster] #2696379 06/12/15 06:23 PM
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Man, if you can be good at playing piano on unweighted keys AND be good at playing organ on weighted keys, you're much, much better than I will ever be.


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Re: Nord - Piano on Waterfall Keys, or Hammond on Weighted Keys? [Re: cphollis] #2696401 06/12/15 08:12 PM
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iluvchiclets Offline OP
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Thanks for the thoughts,

I think it will ultimately come down to price - as I mentioned, I think I could get used to either scenario. Was not sure if anyone had any similar experiences or thoughts (which is why I posted the question)

I appreciate the constructive replies!


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Re: Nord - Piano on Waterfall Keys, or Hammond on Weighted Keys? [Re: iluvchiclets] #2696403 06/12/15 08:24 PM
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Originally Posted By: iluvchiclets
I think it will ultimately come down to price

In a similar price range, if you want a piano action board that plays passably well for organ, look at a Kawai MP7; or if you want an organ action board that plays passably well for piano, look at a Roland VR-700. Both boards have piano and tonewheel organ functions built in.

Or if you're willing to consider the two-board route, there are a number of possibilities. You could get a piano like a Kawai ES100 or Casio PX-5S, and and organ like a Roland VR-09 or Numa Organ 2, for example.

There are lots of nice things about the Nords, but as a single board to satisfyingly play "real" piano and organ on, it's not the way I would go, unless maybe you look at one of the Nord Stage 2 models with the TP40 action, but that's in a whole different price range (unless maybe you find a deal on an older model, like the Stage EX 76/88).

Last edited by AnotherScott; 06/12/15 08:28 PM. Reason: added last paragraph

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Re: Nord - Piano on Waterfall Keys, or Hammond on Weighted Keys? [Re: iluvchiclets] #2696404 06/12/15 08:25 PM
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I'm a piano player first, and I played a clone (NI B4) for years on a hammer-action keyboard, and while it wasn't ideal, it worked for me. I learned to do palm smears without hurting my hands, and that machine-gun thing, well, I'm not doing that anyway (fingers just aren't fast enough, or maybe I just never trained for it.)

But in getting an NE, the first thing I'd consider is the long term plan. For me, the best long term plan is two keyboards; one weighted and one for organ (ideally semi-weighted but I could live with synth).

IMHO, the NE makes a great organ and a great top board, but I wouldn't want it as my bottom board for piano, and (before NE5) it's not sophisticated enough to play piano while being driven by a controller above for organ. So for me, the SW is best. In the short run, as my only keyboard, I can live with the limited piano action. Actually, I often used it alone for rehearsals.

Now, if my long-term plan involved enough disposable income to have a third keyboard to use alone, for short gigs, jams, and rehearsals, I'd just love an NEHP! I think it's going to be a long time before the prices come down enough where that's an option for a cheapskate like me, though. Plus there's the household purchasing department, who'd question the necessity.

TLDR summary:
If I'd only have one keyboard, ever: NE HP. But that's not gonna make me happy.
For eventual two keyboards, NE SW. Happy!
For third "extra" rehearsal/short-gig/jam keyboard, NE HP. Delighted! (But broke)

Re: Nord - Piano on Waterfall Keys, or Hammond on Weighted Keys? [Re: JeffLearman] #2696406 06/12/15 08:27 PM
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Scott: as much as I love my NE+CP4, I'd be very tempted by the price/performance ratio for VR09+PX5S were I starting fresh.

Nobody in the audience or even the band would be likely to notice any difference in sound quality.

Re: Nord - Piano on Waterfall Keys, or Hammond on Weighted Keys? [Re: JeffLearman] #2696410 06/12/15 09:24 PM
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iluvchiclets Offline OP
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Thanks learjeff - yes, it is nice to dream!
I actually did own the VR09 for over a year, but paying extreme attention to the Hammond emulation eventually drove me nuts. It was only part-way-there for me, and I have lots of those kind of sounds! (VB3, Organimation, Vintage Organs, B4II, etc...)
But boy, was that keyboard fun to gig with!

Anotherscott, always enjoy your thoughts as well...


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Re: Nord - Piano on Waterfall Keys, or Hammond on Weighted Keys? [Re: mate stubb] #2696421 06/12/15 10:41 PM
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Originally Posted By: mate stubb
I have concluded after a lifetime of playing that if you are serious about playing organ, and serious about playing piano, only 2 keyboards will do.
thu

Re: Nord - Piano on Waterfall Keys, or Hammond on Weighted Keys? [Re: Michael Wright] #2696459 06/13/15 03:26 AM
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I'm primarily an organist, own a C2D. I also have a Nord Stage 2. I feel more comfortable playing organ on the NS keys than piano on the C2D keys. Not a complete set of course. But for rehearsals, 1 or 2 organ pieces on the NS2, no problem. As for piano on the non weighted keys, it's so hard to control velocity. Keep in mind that the NS can be set to high trigger point for organ, I don't think the Electro HP actions have this, at least not the NE4HP which I owned briefly. Also the HP actions are lightweight but play heavier than the NS counterparts. The main reason why I switched to NS, much better action...

Last edited by Matthiola; 06/13/15 03:26 AM.
Re: Nord - Piano on Waterfall Keys, or Hammond on Weighted Keys? [Re: Matthiola] #2696481 06/13/15 08:12 AM
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The HP has a "shallow trigger" option which allows the player to depress the keys to a point before the hammer action is engaged. So you CAN play organ on the HP if you play the keys in a SHALLOW manner.
But then, you have the LED drawbars on the HP .... I've worked around them with a fair level of facility, but prefer the physical drawbars.
IHHO, the HP model is optimal if you are primarily an ACOUSTIC piano player.
I prefer the SW models for ELECTRIC pianos, Clavinet, Mellotron and of course organs.
Remember the SW models also have the shorter black keys, so THAT takes a bit of adaptation from other keyboards you may be used to.
All in all, the SW is a better all around keyboard.
It IS possible to play AP on the SW keyboard IF you use a different velocity curve for your AP's.....and now with the expanded memory of the Electro 5, the XL pianos will give the sound more girth.... It will take some practice to make it work, and it would not be 100% optimal to do a AP trio gig on an SW, but for anything else it will work.
My $0.02


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Re: Nord - Piano on Waterfall Keys, or Hammond on Weighted Keys? [Re: mate stubb] #2696485 06/13/15 08:21 AM
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Originally Posted By: mate stubb
I have concluded after a lifetime of playing that if you are serious about playing organ, and serious about playing piano, only 2 keyboards will do.


I reached the same conclusion recently. As I see it, with DPs and Hammond clones we're starting from a place of compromise in terms of the sound. Adding the additional compromise on the action makes the whole thing unacceptable for me. It's compromise on top of compromise.

I learned that I can't play serious piano on semi-weighted action. I was away from home for a few weeks and brought my Electro 4D SW61 to practice and was miserable because of the action when playing DP. To my surprise, I can play serious Hammond on weighted action but the action distracts me when the goal is to be inspired. So while it sounds good it's not enjoyable. Two keyboards in now the way forward.

Re: Nord - Piano on Waterfall Keys, or Hammond on Weighted Keys? [Re: Al Quinn] #2696492 06/13/15 09:02 AM
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iluvchiclets Offline OP
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Thank you Al,

Your opinion seems to be the same as others - organ and piano actions should not be mixed. Very interesting, obviously a very personal choice. It would be nice if Nord offered a "synth action" board as an all-around comprimise...much like most other keyboards these days...


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Re: Nord - Piano on Waterfall Keys, or Hammond on Weighted Keys? [Re: iluvchiclets] #2696494 06/13/15 09:08 AM
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Originally Posted By: iluvchiclets
Thanks learjeff - yes, it is nice to dream!
I actually did own the VR09 for over a year, but paying extreme attention to the Hammond emulation eventually drove me nuts. It was only part-way-there for me, and I have lots of those kind of sounds! (VB3, Organimation, Vintage Organs, B4II, etc...)
But boy, was that keyboard fun to gig with!

Anotherscott, always enjoy your thoughts as well...


Then I would go with the Stage 2 compact and consider a hammer action controller to connect to it. I have the NS2 Compact and find it easier to play piano on the waterfall keys than organ on hammer action. The Nord sits nicely on my Kronos so I don't have to do that often.

Re: Nord - Piano on Waterfall Keys, or Hammond on Weighted Keys? [Re: RABid] #2696511 06/13/15 10:25 AM
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Yeah, NS2 compact makes a kick-ass top board. Unfortunately, it's expensive and (compared to NE) heavy, and if you're putting a weighted action beneath it, might as well get one with a good piano sound anyway.

But it's also considerably more capable than an electro, with the synth section.

Re: Nord - Piano on Waterfall Keys, or Hammond on Weighted Keys? [Re: JeffLearman] #2696530 06/13/15 11:40 AM
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Yes - I love the Stage series, but they are cost-prohibitive for me. I wouldn't hesitate to get one if the price was really good though.

What does the term Stage 2 "Compact" mean? Do they do a 61 key Stage? I haven't seen one before.


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Re: Nord - Piano on Waterfall Keys, or Hammond on Weighted Keys? [Re: JeffLearman] #2696541 06/13/15 12:11 PM
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Originally Posted By: learjeff
Yeah, NS2 compact makes a kick-ass top board. Unfortunately, it's expensive and (compared to NE) heavy, and if you're putting a weighted action beneath it, might as well get one with a good piano sound anyway.

But it's also considerably more capable than an electro, with the synth section.


I'm starting to believe there is no perfect keyboard. smile

Re: Nord - Piano on Waterfall Keys, or Hammond on Weighted Keys? [Re: iluvchiclets] #2696542 06/13/15 12:13 PM
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Originally Posted By: iluvchiclets
Yes - I love the Stage series, but they are cost-prohibitive for me. I wouldn't hesitate to get one if the price was really good though.

What does the term Stage 2 "Compact" mean? Do they do a 61 key Stage? I haven't seen one before.


It is the version of the Stage 2 that has waterfall keys rather than hammer action.

Re: Nord - Piano on Waterfall Keys, or Hammond on Weighted Keys? [Re: RABid] #2696546 06/13/15 12:31 PM
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NS comes in three flavors:

88 hammer action
76 hammer action
73 semi-weighted action ("compact"). Note that the lowest key is F, which truly stinks, but was forced by the parts that were available from Fatar, who makes the action.

They finally fixed that with NE5. Hopefully NS3 compact will also have a low E.

On my NE2/73, when set at the octave most similar to a Rhodes, I just couldn't train myself not to hit the wooden cheek block in lieu of a low E, so I set it an octave lower most of the time. Given that (big waste of low keys since I rarely use anything below C) I'd have been nearly as good off with a 61.

So, I added a low E to the NE2. Not sure that's feasible with NE3, as it definitely causes issues on NS.

The NEHP models all have 73 keys with a low E. The low E was only an issue for the waterfall keys.

Re: Nord - Piano on Waterfall Keys, or Hammond on Weighted Keys? [Re: iluvchiclets] #2696597 06/13/15 04:47 PM
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I remember reading an interview with a guitarist who said that as a kid, he didn't realize that he was hearing slapback/delay, so he learned to play guitar with double-picked notes that sounded like the performances on the records. I can relate in this case: I started as a piano player and added organ later. Since I had no previous reference point, and played a weighted lower board, I got (and still am) pretty good at playing the weighted board like a "real" organ.

BUT...I'm now at the point where I play more organ gigs than piano/keyboard gigs. In fact, every once in a while I'll switch over to piano for a solo, and someone will say "Hey, I didn't know you played piano too." But this has meant needing to become more than a "piano player who also plays some organ sounds on gigs if you want them," and taking my organ playing more seriously. And as I've done this, everything about my bottom board--action, Leslie sim, those goofy LEDs--has started to sound and feel worse and worse to me over the years.

Last night I used my old VK8 through a Vent2 and the SS3--the first time I've gone with a dedicated organ board on a whole job--and I have to say, somewhere in the feedback loop of great sound, nice action and the physical relationship with the drawbars, I feel like I finally "got it." It's the first time I really felt like I was fully in charge of my sound and my playing as an organ player, all these years down the line. (I know people have quibbles with the sound of the VK8, but in that signal chain, it was plenty fine.)

There are aspects of organ playing I'll never catch up on. I won't ever play pedals, and all those early years of having the volume pedal on the left mean that that's where my swell pedal sits now. There are MILES to go as a board-jockey, especially in the sculpting of sound. I'm not set-it-and-forget-it, but I'm also not yet that expansive in my drawbar manipulation. And my solos need work to keep them organ-centric. But I am at the point where, after years of making it work with those goofy LEDs/heavier action,good-enough simming, I now see them as a roadblock in between me and my best performance on a job (and for myself).

So, one more vote from this guy for "one organ board, one piano board" if you can get by with only those two sound palettes on the kinds of jobs you do.

Though I admit, I need a solution for my ever-growing set-up needs. I used to be easy in easy out. Now I'm still packing when the bartender is leaving with the Last Cougar Standing.


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Re: Nord - Piano on Waterfall Keys, or Hammond on Weighted Keys? [Re: JeffLearman] #2696643 06/13/15 09:42 PM
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Originally Posted By: learjeff

They finally fixed that with NE5. Hopefully NS3 compact will also have a low E.


Minor addition: I believe the new Nord Stage 2 EX compact has a low E.


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Re: Nord - Piano on Waterfall Keys, or Hammond on Weighted Keys? [Re: Redknife] #2696646 06/13/15 10:03 PM
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After thinking about it for a while, I realized once again that I really have no issues using a "synth action" keyboard (Korg Krome, Motif, M3, etc...) to play pianos and EPs.
Therefore, I think I will keep my eyes open for an Electro 4 SW board. I can use it for organ sounds, and then play the EPs and pianos via MIDI with one of my other synths.

Starting to think the Electro 4 73 is the ideal one - most memory available for the Electros. I tried the Electro 5 today - very impressed - but also confused as to where the Clavinet filters were? Hopefully not gone...!

It's one thing or another with Nord. The nicest sounding board for EPs and organs (IMHO) but reverb is all weird on the E4...and now possibly no Clav pickup/filters on the E5? Gee Whiz...


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Re: Nord - Piano on Waterfall Keys, or Hammond on Weighted Keys? [Re: iluvchiclets] #2696651 06/13/15 11:09 PM
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For me, and most of the people that responded in the thread, playing piano and EPs on a synth action is too much of a compromise. But that's us, we don't know your background, if you came up playing acoustic pianos, do you prefer feeling like you're throwing a hammer and the note triggers after the hammer hits the string, etc. That's where I'm coming from, but to each their own. Only you can decide this. And maybe it's based on how often you cover organ parts.

Knowing you're hot for an Electro 4 SW73 I wanted to let you know that Kraft Music is blowing these out and they have the best deal I've seen.
$1,849 straight up for the Electro 4 SW73 alone. And $1949.99 with a padded carrying case + wheels

Good luck to you, enjoy!




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Re: Nord - Piano on Waterfall Keys, or Hammond on Weighted Keys? [Re: ElmerJFudd] #2696653 06/13/15 11:30 PM
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Depends on the player and the repertoire. I am a pianist first but trying to do some of the organ stuff in my 10 piece band on weight board could hurt you and some of the tricks are sort of impossible.

Playing piano on a would suck but is mostly doable. I would have to go with the unweighted board.


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Re: Nord - Piano on Waterfall Keys, or Hammond on Weighted Keys? [Re: Outkaster] #2696661 06/14/15 12:36 AM
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Originally Posted By: Outkaster
I can't even believe this is a question?

At this juncture? hitt Two/Three keyboards is, quite frankly IMHO much more fun than dicking around with one. A suitable action for each intended purpose far exceeds "compromising" with one. The caveat being, "IMHO". cool

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