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Question for Roland FP-4 Users


allan_evett

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Over the past couple of days, I've decided that I need to modify my search for a new, 88 key instrument. I've been dealing with some hand issues, and am considering a lighter, graded digital piano action. A local dealer will let me try working with an FP-4 for the next couple of weeks. After spending a fair amount of time with it yesterday, I'm feeling that this may be a wise choice for the hands - that also sounds great.

I've searched through threads and posts here which relate to the FP-4; what I've noticed is that it seems quite popular for jazz, light acoustic, etc.. These days I play a fair amount of country (old and new), classic rock, and some roots/folk based music; also the occasional solo, background piano gig. I'm wondering if any of you who use the FP-4, or are familiar with it, would recommend it for the type of band gigs I do. I suspect, from listening to the variety of piano tones on board, that the keyboard should sit fine in most of my bands' mixes. But I'm curious if anyone here has tried using one in a moderately loud rock/country rock setting, and had any problems with it, audio-wise.

 

'Someday, we'll look back on these days and laugh; likely a maniacal laugh from our padded cells, but a laugh nonetheless' - Mr. Boffo.

 

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I use mine in an all-original band. We play a mix of reggae, funk and ska. While not ideal for organs, obviously (That's why the E3's on the way!), I find it quite fine for EP's. I don't play any AP with that band, but I also play acoustic jazz on it. It feels and sounds just fine for all those contexts. I think it would be a great fit for your ears, your fingers and your back. I believe that's the consensus around here.
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I have the RD300GX which is pretty much the same board without the speakers and with better MIDI control. I think he FP4 should sound great in your context, assuming good amplification. A tip for you: take the time to EQ the board (either onboard or externally) to the room and/or the stage. You'll find it really makes a big positive difference, in the piano sounds particularly. This is true of all the Roland pianos I've played. Yamahas have so much attack that they'll cut through concrete. Rolands take a little more care but sound wonderful once set up right.
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
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I too have the RD300GX with many of the same sounds on the FP4. 80% of the time I'm using the Superior piano (mono)with the high end EQ boosted to about 2 o'clock. I'm very happy with the sound I'm getting.

 

But when the mix starts getting dense on stage I have the Pure Grand layered in a set up and I bring that in and mix it with the Superior to get a little more bite and cut through. It's just enough to do the trick.

 

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I heard the FP-4 through my RCFTT08A speakers recently and it sounded great !

The action is a bit strange, certainly no worse and probably a tad better then what's on the Nord Stage. I never took the plunge because of the "cutting through" issues I had with the RD700GX. I'd be more inclined to using it more for lighter Jazz gigs, solo piano and similar low volume contexts. I don't have extensive experience with it like people like SK, Jazz + or Piano4U/Roger but I think the key is running it in stereo with the best quality speakers you can afford. The "Superior Grand" has a light, airy kind of texture to it (at least to my ears) and imho that just doesn't sound good with a keyboard amp or kinda funky powered speakers.

 

I know Roland has announced the FP-7F but I'm waiting to see if an FP-4F is going to debut at NAMM.

 

Your opportunity to check it out on different gigs for a few weeks is obviously best way to go. If you do buy new, I'd just be sure you had a return policy available to you just in case it doesn't work out.

https://soundcloud.com/dave-ferris

2005 NY Steinway D

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I owned one for a few months but sold it. Dave is on point: jazz gigs, solo piano, low volume. I don't think it's suitable for rock or country. And the action is indeed strange: spongy, somewhere between semi-weighted and fully-weighted, and, to me, unsatisfying. But it's worth trying to see if it might alleviate your discomfort.
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I always recommend the FP4 for its piano sound and the extra benefit of internal speakers, + weight/price. And I'm really only concerned with the piano sound.

 

About the action: I've yet to play any DP that has fooled me into believing it was a piano. There's always some transcending of the tool to make the music. Some actions "feel" better, but then some can hurt your hands.

 

So far as cutting through, it's mostly a matter of amplification and good EQ (that actually improves the tone and volume of the FP4.) Just because a DP cuts through doesn't mean it sounds right. And if a DP doesn't sound realistic, I can't enjoy playing it, no matter how loud it is.

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I just bought an FP-4 but used to own an FP7, which I gigged a lot with. I never thought the electric pianos could cut through the band. There always seems to be a velocity missing (there was no "11" when you hit it hard. The acoustic piano always cut nicely. I'm using the FP4 in more quieter jazz things and think all the sounds work better. I hated the weight of the FP7, but loved the action at first. But I started to get tired of the thud. Even though I couldn't hear it, I could feel it in my fingers. The FP4 action feels very plush, fast, and smooth. The only thing I can feel so far is that sometimes I feel that the lightness of the action sometimes makes my fingers tired. It's hard to explain the sensation.

 

The positives of this keyboard out weigh anything bad, considering other digital piano choices in it's price range (with built-in speakers.)

 

I used to own a PC88 and thought that was a great keyboard in a band situation but not as much for small jazz work. Maybe you check out what they're selling these days.

AvantGrand N2 | ES520 | Gallien-Krueger MK & MP | https://soundcloud.com/pete36251

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I bought an FP4 a couple of years ago when it was the hot item on the forums. I tried it with my blues/rock band (thru a single JBL Eon G2) and felt that it didn't cut as well as the Yam S80 I normally use, so I relegated the FP4 to home use and jazz jams. The past year I've been gigging multiple times a week with the S80 and my hands are constantly stiff and sore. One weekend in July I went to a multi-day jam session/band camp type gathering to which I took the FP4 instead of the S80. I played 4-6 hours a day for 3 days, mostly classic rock and blues. At the end of that time my hands felt great, no pain or stiffness. My experience is that the FP4 is much easier on the hands, especially compared to the S80.

 

acctjm

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I love the action and sound of my FP4 and it's the first DP I have owned where my tendonitis doesn't flare up after two sets. I also use the Internal EQ to fatten it up.

Harry Likas was the Technical Editor of Mark Levine's "The Jazz Theory Book" and also helped develop "The Jazz Piano Book." 

Harry teaches jazz piano online using Facebook Messenger, FaceTime, or Google Meet.

 

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To all who have contributed to this thread: Thanks much for the input, so far. I'll be using the FP-4 on country and rock gigs for the next several weekends. I'll post my observations and any further questions, as I move forward with this new 'board.

'Someday, we'll look back on these days and laugh; likely a maniacal laugh from our padded cells, but a laugh nonetheless' - Mr. Boffo.

 

We need a barfing cat emoticon!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The only thing I can feel so far is that sometimes I feel that the lightness of the action sometimes makes my fingers tired. It's hard to explain the sensation.

 

In my experience, it's probably because we need to play more cleanly when we're playing on lighter keybeds and as part of this you hold your hands in tension more so as to hit the keys more deliberately.

 

I've noticed this even on my CP5, especially at the bottom end where my left hand psychologically expects the grading to be.

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I love it's action, and i'm picky about actions - history of hand problems here. The sound - I did heavy metal gigs and it did cut through fine. Used the rock piano preset for that. It sounds lame on it's own, but great in the mix (as with most sounds that but through a dense mix). For solo playing, the default preset is great.

Stage: MOX6, V-machine, and Roland AX7

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