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#2897126 - 12/21/17 06:47 AM Re: The Great Piano Pushback [Re: Strays Dave]
Joe Muscara Offline
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Originally Posted By: Strays Dave

I don't understand the obsession with acoustic pianos over digital pianos - if the digital piano is high quality.
That's a big if. I've heard that some digitals are really close to replicating the full experience of an acoustic, such as the Casio Grand Hybrids, but I have not played them. Meanwhile, I love my Kawai grand. It's a drag when it starts to go out of tune, but even then, I love it.
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#2897129 - 12/21/17 06:59 AM Re: The Great Piano Pushback [Re: Joe Muscara]
Stokely Offline
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Registered: 12/15/12
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Loc: Florida
It's a bit weird for me to be saying this, as I'm hardly a "pianist" and grew up playing synths mostly...but there's something to the real deal that I think we will be poorer for missing. The wood and the way it resonates etc. Plus I guess I think it's good to experience the original along with the thing that is copying it. Hammond B3 (which sadly I haven't been able to play much)...Rhodes...tube amps vs modelers....analog modular synths etc etc. Not saying it's bad to use the "copies" (heck I'm all software at home, even for guitar) but if I had the time, space and money I'd love to have the real things, even if the copies are WAY more convenient for playing out and recording, and might sound just as good (especially on a recording).

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#2897131 - 12/21/17 07:34 AM Re: The Great Piano Pushback [Re: Strays Dave]
Reezekeys Offline
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Originally Posted By: Strays Dave
I don't understand the obsession with acoustic pianos over digital pianos - if the digital piano is high quality. I keep making the point (when this issue comes up) that acoustic pianos are virtually never kept tuned often enough. And not keeping them tuned gives us that "mushy" (technical term) piano sound we've all heard so many times.

The ever-ending debate. Nobody I know is "obsessed" with acoustics vs digital but as someone who happily plays a plastic 61-key controller hooked to a laptop playing a good digital representation of a piano, I'll still claim there's nothing like the real thing. Whether a real piano is in or out of tune is a user-controllable factor. Anyone that acquires an acoustic knows that it requires occasional tuning, unlike the digital this isn't some "gotcha." If anyone is truly obsessed with acoustics it's probably because they feel that the experience of playing one, where a big soundboard is in front of you radiating into a room and enveloping you in sound, is inherently superior to speaker cones beaming sound from a few point sources. I guess it's a matter of opinion, but I would be surprised to hear anyone claim they prefer the raw sound of a sampled Bosendorfer through even the highest quality speakers versus the sound you'd hear in a nice room playing the real thing.

Of course all this goes out the window when you're talking about doing gigs. Or if you can't afford the 5-figure price tags where decent grand pianos start. Or don't have the greatest acoustic environment. All pretty significant items so I'm very happy to have my digital representation of a piano. And digitals seem to be getting better all the time. The new "grands" with multiple channels going to different speakers built into the case, haptic feedback on the keys, etc., are moving us ever closer to the ideal though those models aren't cheap and can't be shlepped to your local jazz jam at the Italian restaurant. I'm old enough to remember moving Wurlies, Rhodes & CP70s to gigs, so I'm quite happy with what even a modest (and relatively inexpensive) amount of tech can do these days.

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#2897133 - 12/21/17 07:34 AM Re: The Great Piano Pushback [Re: Strays Dave]
JazzPiano88 Offline
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Originally Posted By: Strays Dave

I don't understand the obsession with acoustic pianos over digital pianos - if the digital piano is high quality. I keep making the point (when this issue comes up) that acoustic pianos are virtually never kept tuned often enough. And not keeping them tuned gives us that "mushy" (technical term) piano sound we've all heard so many times.

If you're puzzled about what that "mushy" sound is, compare virtually any acoustic piano with a digital. I expect digitals will get incrementally better over time. Two years ago I paid $5K for a Yamaha F01 - it was new but the model life was 7-8 years old. I bought it because it sounded like an authentic piano to my ears.

I play a lot of jazz piano, in addition to other styles. Those chord voicing with minor 2nds and diminished triads clustered against contrasting diminished triads (i.e. jazz piano chord voicings) sound as intended. Can't do that on most acoustic pianos - they sound like mush.

In the population of acoustic pianos you are right, a majority I'm sure sound like mush.
But for a serious pianist who owns and maintains an acoustic grand, it usually isn't going to sound like mush. We strive to make the piano "sing". A good example of what we strive for our instrument to sound like can be heard here:


Version with much batter audio (Fast forward to 4:22):
Keith Jarrett NPR Piano Jazz
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#2897135 - 12/21/17 07:37 AM Re: The Great Piano Pushback [Re: Strays Dave]
Dave Ferris Offline
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Edited by Dave Ferris (12/22/17 04:11 AM)
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#2897145 - 12/21/17 08:14 AM Re: The Great Piano Pushback [Re: Dave Ferris]
tarkus Offline
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Nothing like a quality piano.
I almost bought a Yamaha upright grand - brand spankin new - just because of the quality.
After playing my family piano since i was a toddler, it was the only action I knew. When I went to college, they had a piano room with two steinway grands and one bosendorfer that was used for concerts. What a leap from the shitty kranich & bach to the steinway and then to the bosendorfer.
Kinda like driving a datsun B210 hatchback for a dozen years and then being handed the keys to a Rolls Royce

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#2897147 - 12/21/17 08:23 AM Re: The Great Piano Pushback [Re: MathOfInsects]
synthizen2 Offline
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Registered: 08/19/04
Posts: 852
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: MathOfInsects
Originally Posted By: Outkaster
Originally Posted By: teashea
Hammon B3's (and their cousins) are struggling to get sold. People ask $3000 but I don't see many confirmed sales. There are a bunch of them that go for free for maybe just go to the dump. Digital organs are so good now, that apart from the "feel" of a B3 (ie nostalgia and emotional attachment), there is little or no reason to have one.

There is an exception for the very top tier of players like Mitch Towne, Joey DeFranscesco, Pat Bianchi etc, who can appreciate the use of a real B3, that is only a handful. For everyone else, a digital organ is going to sound just as good.

For me, I am very interested in B3's - from a distance. I admire the mechanical and design aspects and enjoy learning about how they work - or don't. However, I have zero interest in owning own and would not take one for free.

As the old guys die off, B3's will fade even faster. There are very few younger players who care anything for a real B3. Look at the members of the B3 groups on Facebook - there are zero young members. The B3 restorers who offer their organs are sucking air - they sell very few. It costs more to restore a B3 than they can be sold for.

The clones have won overwhelmingly.


That's just not correct?


Got to agree, this doesn't really ring true to me.


It has a ring of truth in it, to me.

I'll tell you my story...

When I first became a gigging keyboardist in the early 80s (from a piano background), what was generally available to me (and what other gigging keyboardists were into buying at the time) did not include Hammonds, or really any kind of organ. Those were just not in vogue at the time. Many keyboard-playing friends and associates (who were gigging longer than me, like back in the 70s) were already selling off their B3's and going for analog polysynths, the DX7, or the first round of organ clones like the CX3, etc.

There are many keyboardists in this forum who have a longer keyboard-player background than me, and they already had been playing the Hammond for years.

For me, starting out, it was just about "finding some organ patch on a synth" and using that for certain songs. I knew nothing about drawbar registrations, leslie, percussion, vibrato, or any of that stuff.

Later on I learned all of that, and became better at organ technique... but only by using synths or clones. I simply didn't have a Hammond background, never owned one, didn't know how to work one 'properly' (i.e. Joey Francesco style) - and as a consequence - never really wanted one, because I didn't have a "grounding" in it like many here. My real grounding was in polysynths, samplers, and DPs during the 1980s.

So, from a simple "post-70s gigging keyboardist" mentality, I can see this guy's point. He may not be correct about classic Hammonds hitting the dumps... but he is correct insofar as achieving realistic Hammond sound in digital form. After all, Hammond themselves do make digital clones, don't they?

"If it's not a Hammond, it's a clone" -- does this logic apply to digital Hammonds?
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#2897151 - 12/21/17 08:50 AM Re: The Great Piano Pushback [Re: synthizen2]
Outkaster Offline
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OK well you might be the minority. People shouldn't come in making blanket statements that aren't that educated on the subject.
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#2897155 - 12/21/17 09:07 AM Re: The Great Piano Pushback [Re: JCRoswell]
synthizen2 Offline
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Registered: 08/19/04
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Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: Reezekeys
Of course all this goes out the window when you're talking about doing gigs.

This is true.

Originally Posted By: JCRoswell
And how many people have I met that had a piano in their home that no one could play and was just a piece of furniture?

This is true.

Hey, I think we're on to something here. idea


Edited by synthizen2 (12/21/17 09:07 AM)
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#2897158 - 12/21/17 09:19 AM Re: The Great Piano Pushback [Re: synthizen2]
MathOfInsects Online   content
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So to summarize, the home piano either is or is not dead and organ use is either up or down or the same.
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#2897160 - 12/21/17 09:21 AM Re: The Great Piano Pushback [Re: synthizen2]
LX88 Offline
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Registered: 10/16/10
Posts: 1937
I recently picked up a 56 inch tall Bush and Lane upright from 1924.

I had been looking for one of these. I wanted the additional string length in the bass register, and Bush and Lane pianos have a great reputation among certain knowledgeable techs -if they have been well maintained. This one has particularly nice strings and soundboard.

This piano does need a bit of attention in the action , and the hammers need to be voiced. I called a few techs in my area.

None of them seemed to be particularly interested in anything about this instrument EXCEPT how much money would be gained by them. I wanted to speak to someone who knows something about how unique this instrument is, or at least display some interest in it. That was my qualification.

So one of the factors in acquiring acoustic instruments regards who is going to help maintain it.

At this point I am looking for a good tuning program and I plan to experiment with tuning it myself because I don't want any of my resources to go to some of the people I have spoken to so far.

BTW if any of you have any info on mid 20's Bush and Lane or any knowledge about the Wessel Nickel and Gross action from this period , PM me.

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#2897165 - 12/21/17 09:54 AM Re: The Great Piano Pushback [Re: LX88]
Dave Ferris Offline
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.


Edited by Dave Ferris (12/22/17 04:12 AM)
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#2897166 - 12/21/17 09:55 AM Re: The Great Piano Pushback [Re: Dave Ferris]
burningbusch Offline
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Originally Posted By: Dave Ferris
Originally Posted By: Strays Dave

I don't understand the obsession with acoustic pianos over digital pianos - if the digital piano is high quality.

I play a lot of jazz piano, in addition to other styles. Those chord voicing with minor 2nds and diminished triads clustered against contrasting diminished triads (i.e. jazz piano chord voicings) sound as intended. Can't do that on most acoustic pianos - they sound like mush.


Are you serious ?! You can't be.

I play a little "jazz piano " from time to time myself. And have been known to play thick and more intricate chord voicings.

On a digital, most everything sounds sterile and not real. In fact I almost always have to go check a voicing on my piano out in the studio after "finding " something new on the CP5 in the office. Sometimes the transfer or transition holds up but I'd say a good half the time it doesn't.

The richness of body, thickness of tone, the resonance, the sustain, the overall feel and player connection of a good acoustic vs a digital -- it's two separate worlds altogether that aren't even comparable.

Your statement leads me to believe you've never experienced a piano of higher quality before. I simply can't believe, especially after listening to you play, you'd make a blanket statement like that if you have.

I've never met a serious jazz, classical player, or even a more discerning rock guy that would prefer a digital over a good piano. But maybe they're out there. confused idk

There's no obsession over digital vs acoustic here. I'm in the camp of most that feels digitals have their place -- especially for a working musician or when space or noise in the home are an issue. In fact almost everyone I know with a good, or great piano owns a digital --primarily for work but also maybe the convenience factor if they want to make a quick recording.

I'm also very sensitive to the simple fact that many are not in the financial position to acquire an instrument that can compete satisfactorily with a higher quality digital piano. I have to add though -- I know or have heard of players that didn't have any money but yet made extreme sacrifices in their lifestyle to come into the possession of a functional instrument so they could practice and further their Art.

Joe , when your piano goes out of tune, you get it tuned. idea smile thu


Have to agree with all this Dave. There is a laundry list of issues with digital pianos. There is no question we're dealing with a compromised sound, in some cases just plain faulty. I have a Yamaha N3. I guess it's one of the best examples of a digital piano.

We use these things because they're pragmatic. The only place I feel good about using a software piano is when tracking, in a mix with other instruments--I find I'm no longer distracted by the flaws.

Busch.

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#2897170 - 12/21/17 10:03 AM Re: The Great Piano Pushback [Re: Dave Ferris]
cphollis Offline
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Registered: 10/05/13
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Good digital hybrids vs. good acoustic pianos?

I have a very good digital hybrid in one location (Yamaha AvantGrand N3) and a very good grand piano in another (Bosie 200). As you might expect, it's not even a close contest, except perhaps in the bang-for-buck category.

Make no mistake, the Yammie brings serious game. Much more fun to play than any pure digital (e.g. Nord), and many lower-end acoustic pianos. You can occasionally lose yourself and think you're playing a real grand. And it never goes out of tune.

But the experience on a better acoustic grand is simply not comparable. True, not everyone has the inclination or the means. But if you do ... there is no direct substitute.

Even if I have to tune it once in a while.
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#2897173 - 12/21/17 10:11 AM Re: The Great Piano Pushback [Re: cphollis]
Iconoclast Offline
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Registered: 09/12/11
Posts: 531
Loc: Phoenix, Arizona
Originally Posted By: cphollis
Good digital hybrids vs. good acoustic pianos?

I have a very good digital hybrid in one location (Yamaha AvantGrand N3) and a very good grand piano in another (Bosie 200). As you might expect, it's not even a close contest, except perhaps in the bang-for-buck category.

Make no mistake, the Yammie brings serious game. Much more fun to play than any pure digital (e.g. Nord), and many lower-end acoustic pianos. You can occasionally lose yourself and think you're playing a real grand. And it never goes out of tune.

But the experience on a better acoustic grand is simply not comparable. True, not everyone has the inclination or the means. But if you do ... there is no direct substitute.

Even if I have to tune it once in a while.


Amen to that. I have a Kurz Forte and a Nord Stage 3, both fantastic stage pianos. I'm lucky enough to have a stand alone studio at my house with great speakers that I can play them through.

In the house I have a Yamaha Grand that I inherited when my Mother passed away.

I have often pondered over the difference in playing the two. Undeniably the dynamic range of the real piano and the way you can feel the instrument rumble makes it much more satisfying when you're really playing good. I really love it when no one's home and I get a chance to lay into that piano.

Ironically, I've tried to record the acoustic Grand and it always sounds like crap recorded.

Which reminds me...I really need to get the Grand tuned!


Edited by Iconoclast (12/21/17 10:12 AM)
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#2897175 - 12/21/17 10:14 AM Re: The Great Piano Pushback [Re: burningbusch]
Dave Ferris Offline
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Loc: Glendale, Ca.
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Edited by Dave Ferris (12/22/17 04:12 AM)
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#2897177 - 12/21/17 10:17 AM Re: The Great Piano Pushback [Re: Dave Ferris]
MathOfInsects Online   content
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Registered: 02/04/15
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Originally Posted By: Dave Ferris
I play a little "jazz piano " from time to time myself.


roll roll roll

Understatement of the year award. smile
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#2897178 - 12/21/17 10:18 AM Re: The Great Piano Pushback [Re: MathOfInsects]
Dave Ferris Offline
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Registered: 03/05/07
Posts: 6007
Loc: Glendale, Ca.
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Edited by Dave Ferris (12/22/17 04:13 AM)
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#2897180 - 12/21/17 10:24 AM Re: The Great Piano Pushback [Re: Iconoclast]
burningbusch Offline
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Registered: 10/22/00
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Let me add, the reason I think using a soft piano in a mix often works is because recording an acoustic piano necessarily compromises the sound. The multi-dimensional sound of the acoustic piano is reduced to stereo (or mono), is compressed and EQ to "fit" the mix. In the end the soloed track often bears little resemblance to the source.

Busch.

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#2897181 - 12/21/17 10:27 AM Re: The Great Piano Pushback [Re: LX88]
GRollins Offline
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Registered: 09/01/17
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1) Start with a real acoustic piano. Learn to play it. Get used to it. Hear the nuances. It's in your blood.

2) Start playing out, as in with a band, not classical recitals where there's already a piano in the hall.

3) The physical size and weight of the real acoustic are problematic. As soon as they're available, switch to an electronic representation of an acoustic, even though it's really not even close.

4) The electronic versions get closer. Everyone cheers. Buy another and another and another and another because they're closer and closer to the real thing.

5) BUT...it's an asymptotic approach. Diminishing returns. Let's assume for the moment that there's some objective way to truly assign a rating to the electronic copy and it's...call it 95% of the real thing. "Close enough."

6) The electronic version still weighs 30-50 pounds or so and is still kinda fragile and is still awkward to fit in the van.

7) New technology comes out that gives you a "virtual piano" with a holographic keyboard that's projected in air, weighs nothing, etc. It uses cordless MIDI 5.3 technology to hook up to everything else, but is essentially based on the same sound engine so it's still only 95% of a real piano. The next round of tech gives you a true virtual reality piano that even looks like one as long as you're within the virtual reality bubble...but it's still less than the real thing.

Years pass...

At some point a young lad or lass opens the door of a dusty room after their grandparents (depicted above) have died at age 274 years young and in the late afternoon sun slanting through the window, spies the last real piano on Earth. They know what it is because they've seen the holos, but they've never seen the real thing. They know how to play so, out of curiosity and boredom, they decide to give it a try...

...and discover the missing 5%...

...but there are no piano factories left on Earth to spread the joy and wonderment he (or she) feels at playing and hearing a real piano in a real room playing real music--the full 100% experience.

Grey
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#2897185 - 12/21/17 10:46 AM Re: The Great Piano Pushback [Re: GRollins]
stoken6 Offline
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+1 on the above. I have an average acoustic (baby grand, 4ft 3in - too small!) and one of the best keyboards for piano (Nord Stage 2 - you can debate its ranking against the competition). The acoustic wins every time in terms of FSC (finger-soul connection).

Although... we live in a semi-detached house and we have room for it, without disturbing the neighbours. An older, downsized me would love a Yamaha N1 for the convenience and the action. I'm not enough of an organist to tune in to the subtleties, but I imagine the same applies to Hammond (tonewheel) vs clones.

Cheers, Mike.
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#2897205 - 12/21/17 12:01 PM Re: The Great Piano Pushback [Re: Dave Ferris]
Joe Muscara Offline
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Originally Posted By: Dave Ferris
Joe , when your piano goes out of tune, you get it tuned. idea smile thu
Well, duh. rolleyes It's not an immediate thing, though. In fact, around here it's a bit of a pain. It's currently 78 but this weekend the highs will be in the 50s. With each change of direction of the wind, the humidity goes with it and the piano shifts. Right now, the tuning sounds mostly fine, but when the temp and humidity drop this weekend, it will sound wonky again.

The joys of living in an older house...
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#2897239 - 12/21/17 02:01 PM Re: The Great Piano Pushback [Re: Joe Muscara]
Dave Ferris Offline
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Registered: 03/05/07
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Loc: Glendale, Ca.
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Edited by Dave Ferris (12/22/17 04:13 AM)
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#2897242 - 12/21/17 02:10 PM Re: The Great Piano Pushback [Re: Dave Ferris]
Joe Muscara Offline
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It's not too horrible most of the time, but when we change from A/C to heat or vice versa I notice it.
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#2897261 - 12/21/17 04:59 PM Re: The Great Piano Pushback [Re: Joe Muscara]
Markay Online   content
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Registered: 01/28/12
Posts: 3135
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Nothing beats an acoustic piano. But buying a piano is a discretionary purchase that a shrinking number of people choose to make, and of those that may have the inclination, an ever increasing number do not have the room to accommodate an AP in their home.

Here since the 80's the vast majority of new housing has been medium or high density apartments where there is limited space for an upright let alone a grand. And then there is the noise issue. Many are built with thin prefab concrete panels or breeze block internal walls to save money and noise transference from everyday living is often an issue, an AP is often out of the question even if there were room for it.

Amongst the downsizing boomer friends of mine only one has kept his grand, but they live in a huge luxury apartment, the number of which would be in the hundreds in a total of about a million apartments in this city.

Increasing the number of piano retailers is not going to solve these issues.

In my case, through a stroke of luck, my grandchild will be learning the piano on a grand whether he likes or not. His maternal grandmother is a past professional player and teacher of many years standing. And she takes no prisoners, so his musical education is not open to debate. Hope he has inherited her talent.
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#2897267 - 12/21/17 06:00 PM Re: The Great Piano Pushback [Re: GRollins]
Iconoclast Offline
Gold Member

Registered: 09/12/11
Posts: 531
Loc: Phoenix, Arizona
Originally Posted By: GRollins
1) Start with a real acoustic piano. Learn to play it. Get used to it. Hear the nuances. It's in your blood.

2) Start playing out, as in with a band, not classical recitals where there's already a piano in the hall.

3) The physical size and weight of the real acoustic are problematic. As soon as they're available, switch to an electronic representation of an acoustic, even though it's really not even close.

4) The electronic versions get closer. Everyone cheers. Buy another and another and another and another because they're closer and closer to the real thing.

5) BUT...it's an asymptotic approach. Diminishing returns. Let's assume for the moment that there's some objective way to truly assign a rating to the electronic copy and it's...call it 95% of the real thing. "Close enough."

6) The electronic version still weighs 30-50 pounds or so and is still kinda fragile and is still awkward to fit in the van.

7) New technology comes out that gives you a "virtual piano" with a holographic keyboard that's projected in air, weighs nothing, etc. It uses cordless MIDI 5.3 technology to hook up to everything else, but is essentially based on the same sound engine so it's still only 95% of a real piano. The next round of tech gives you a true virtual reality piano that even looks like one as long as you're within the virtual reality bubble...but it's still less than the real thing.

Years pass...

At some point a young lad or lass opens the door of a dusty room after their grandparents (depicted above) have died at age 274 years young and in the late afternoon sun slanting through the window, spies the last real piano on Earth. They know what it is because they've seen the holos, but they've never seen the real thing. They know how to play so, out of curiosity and boredom, they decide to give it a try...

...and discover the missing 5%...

...but there are no piano factories left on Earth to spread the joy and wonderment he (or she) feels at playing and hearing a real piano in a real room playing real music--the full 100% experience.

Grey


Sounds like a Concept Album. The pianists version of 2112?
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#2897269 - 12/21/17 06:15 PM Re: The Great Piano Pushback [Re: Iconoclast]
EscapeRocks Online   content
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Registered: 08/12/03
Posts: 4940
Loc: Texas
If I could bring my 1973 Steinway "L" to my gigs, I would!

As good as the digital and VST have become, when I sit down at the real thing, it's pure joy and no real competition.
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#2897271 - 12/21/17 07:08 PM Re: The Great Piano Pushback [Re: Iconoclast]
GRollins Offline
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Registered: 09/01/17
Posts: 1203
Originally Posted By: Iconoclast
Sounds like a Concept Album. The pianists version of 2112?


More like a concept for a story. I'm an author. I'm considering writing something along those lines.

We've made a lot of concessions in the name of convenience. There's a loss involved at every stage. People don't care because it's "close enough" and it's portable. Consider, for instance, the difference between a Walkman or its distant offspring, the iPod and a good stereo--one's portable and sounds "good enough" but the other is better. But there's still a chance that a time will come when people slow down and realize the concessions that were made in the name of convenience. It might just matter to someone.

I hope.

Grey
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#2897273 - 12/21/17 07:18 PM Re: The Great Piano Pushback [Re: GRollins]
Joe Muscara Offline
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Registered: 02/21/05
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I see all this talk about not having space for a piano, or living in a dwelling where the noise is a problem. Then I thought, "what about drummers?" Then I thought, some of them might have rehearsal spaces. Or putting the kit out in the garage for practice is viable. idk
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#2897274 - 12/21/17 07:29 PM Re: The Great Piano Pushback [Re: Joe Muscara]
ElmerJFudd Offline
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Registered: 11/30/14
Posts: 6510
Loc: USA, greater NY area
Acoustic piano does need temp and humidity control.
So the garage and basement isn't the place for a quality acoustic piano.
It needs to be where humans dwell. And beyond that a the water pan with heat bars and wicking cloth (damp chaser) help a lot with keeping tune and avoiding sound board cracks, even wood parts in the action and elsewhere moving optimally.

Digitals can be noisy too, even with headphones and especially in a second floor apartment where the neighbors downstairs hear thump thump thump from the action through the floor.
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