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real actions / sampled sounds


Dave Horne

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As far as I know, Yamaha is the only company to market a piano that uses a real grand piano action and an excellent grand piano sample ... the GranTouch.

 

I really think the market is wide open for such a piano and I am surprised that they are not more popular. (I also bought and loved Betamax so you have an idea that I might have a minority opinion.)

 

I would love (nothing personal, Mike Martin) to own the same technology in a Steinway flavor but they don't make it.

 

For cruise ships, theaters, restaurants ... and even apartments, such a piano makes sense. They never need to be tuned, they take up less space, they can be used with headphones, they can be used with other midi appliances ... they just make sense.

 

I only know of two other GranTouch pianos in my immediate area - a neighbor just around the corner and a theater (in Den Bosch) where I play a few times per year.

 

I just wrote Steinway passing on my views ... I have a fair amount of free time. Do you guys play on such a piano? Have you encountered them in professional situations? Mike Martin, can you supply us with the number of GranTouch pianos that Yamaha sells per year?

 

I am genuinely surprised not to encounter more of these pianos during my work ... is this just me?

 

Just wondering.

No guitarists were harmed during the making of this message.

 

In general, harmonic complexity is inversely proportional to the ratio between chording and non-chording instruments.

 

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I never see them too.

Since these things are big and heavy and don't sound as good real Yamaha's the only advantage they have is that they don't need tuning and they can be amplified more easily.

I can imagine restaurants not taking them, since real pianos are much more fancy. The real ones have style and are classy, digitals don't. And restaurants usually have the money to pay a tuner.

 

Cruiseships maybe....

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Dave, I looked into the GranTouch about a year ago and was surprised at how expensive that are--around $20,000. I believe that's accurate. Now you do get a real piano case (though a small one) and action, so it's understandable that it's not going to be cheap. But these seem to be only a little less expensive than getting one of the Yamaha's with the real harp/strings + the Disclavier functionality.

 

At the other end of the spectrum you can get a Yamaha PF500 with probably eqiuvalent sample playback and some decent solid pedals (huge pet peeve of mine). The case and action are obviously a step down, but this thing is only $2,000.

 

I'd also like to know how popular the GranTouch really is?

 

Busch.

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Originally posted by burningbusch:

Dave, I looked into the GranTouch about a year ago and was surprised at how expensive that are--around $20,000. I believe that's accurate. Now you do get a real piano case (though a small one) and action, so it's understandable that it's not going to be cheap. But these seem to be only a little less expensive than getting one of the Yamaha's with the real harp/strings + the Disclavier functionality.

 

At the other end of the spectrum you can get a Yamaha PF500 with probably eqiuvalent sample playback and some decent solid pedals (huge pet peeve of mine). The case and action are obviously a step down, but this thing is only $2,000.

 

I'd also like to know how popular the GranTouch really is?

 

Busch.

Froogle link Froogle link for GranTouch search word

 

About $7,000 to $8,000 for the GranTouch 2 I see. I didn't scroll down far enough to see the price of the real piano case version. For homes, cruise ships and restaurants, the GT2 would be perfect.

 

When I first stumbled onto one at a job, I was knocked out. I had the same idea for years before I actually saw one. I think it is a fantastic idea. Mike Martin, just how many are sold per year?

No guitarists were harmed during the making of this message.

 

In general, harmonic complexity is inversely proportional to the ratio between chording and non-chording instruments.

 

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Dave, these are non-US sites from what I can tell. 220volt versions. Don't really give you an idea of what you'd pay for one in the USA from a local shop--especially now a days with the dollar so low against other currency.

 

I'm betting a discounted sale price for the grand style case will be 2 times the $7,000 - 8,000.

 

Busch.

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Originally posted by burningbusch:

Dave, these are non-US sites from what I can tell. 220volt versions. Don't really give you an idea of what you'd pay for one in the USA from a local shop--especially now a days with the dollar so low against other currency.

 

I'm betting a discounted sale price for the grand style case will be 2 times the $7,000 - 8,000.

 

Busch.

I think you might have looked a bit too quickly - 220 lbs, not 220 volts. The prices I saw were US$.

No guitarists were harmed during the making of this message.

 

In general, harmonic complexity is inversely proportional to the ratio between chording and non-chording instruments.

 

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Dave, this reseller is out of Belgium. I for one would not buy an item of this size and price and then ship it half way around the world. Would it be covered under US warranty? What about customs? Shipping? At the bottom of the spec sheet it says power supply=220 volts.

 

This is simply not an accurate picture of what a person in the USA can buy one for from a local Yamaha reseller.

 

Busch.

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burningbusch, you are correct, the seller is in Europe.

 

Over here (in Holland) we have a 25% import tax and a 19% VAT. I'm reasonably sure the US price would be less than the typical Euro price. Most things are cheaper in the US.

 

I'll post back with a typical US price after someone gives me a quote.

No guitarists were harmed during the making of this message.

 

In general, harmonic complexity is inversely proportional to the ratio between chording and non-chording instruments.

 

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Originally posted by Dave Horne:

As far as I know, Yamaha is the only company to market a piano that uses a real grand piano action and an excellent grand piano sample ... the GranTouch.

 

I would love to own the same technology in a Steinway flavor but they don't make it.

 

I am genuinely surprised not to encounter more of these pianos during my work ... is this just me?

 

Just wondering.

Kawai claims that the MP9000 and 9500 digital pianos have a real grand piano action, or at least a substantial part of it. I've played them and they do feel great to me, surely among the best actions I've ever found on electronic instruments. For some reason, I seem to like the action on the older MP9000 better.

 

There's only one keyboard which I liked even more: The PPG PRK, which has been discontinued 15 or 20 years ago. They said "Steinway action", and that's exactly like it felt to me. Maybe it's just selective memory - there were not many weighted keyboards around then. I would like for sure to put my hands on one now.

 

About the prices of the Grand Touch... I'm almost positive that there are at least two models, the GT1 and GT2. This could account for the difference in price.

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There are four models of the GranTouch.

link to Yamaha GranTouch

 

An upright version, the GT1, the GT2 which is the GT1 with a lid that can open, and yet another model that actually uses the cabinetry from a four foot 11 inch model.

No guitarists were harmed during the making of this message.

 

In general, harmonic complexity is inversely proportional to the ratio between chording and non-chording instruments.

 

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Dave, I was looking at the Yamaha piano site, and doing some daydreaming...

 

Anyway, I noticed that the GranTouch line of pianos are in the Disklavier section. Does that mean that they have servo-controlled keys for playing back recorded performances, like the Diskclaviers do? Or do they use midi for recording/playback? The web site seems to indicate that they use servo-controlled keys.

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Originally posted by Guest User:

Dave, I was looking at the Yamaha piano site, and doing some daydreaming...

 

Anyway, I noticed that the GranTouch line of pianos are in the Disklavier section. Does that mean that they have servo-controlled keys for playing back recorded performances, like the Diskclaviers do?

From the photo I saw with the caption 'SmartKey', it appears that the Disklavier flavors have that. Perhaps Mike Martin can shed more light on this. I've only played the 'basic' versions of the GranTouch.

No guitarists were harmed during the making of this message.

 

In general, harmonic complexity is inversely proportional to the ratio between chording and non-chording instruments.

 

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I tried out the Kawai MP9500 recently and have never played a board that felt more like a grand. I'm a classically trained pianist who plays regularly on an acoustic in my home. And that includes all Yamaha's (of which I'm probably going to wind up buying either the P250 or the 120). It has solid wood keys, and the case design has to be elevated on top to accomodate the action mechanisms. It also has every bit as good of grand piano samples as the Yamaha. Read the reviews on Harmony-Central. When I got ready buy, it was too late, because Kawai discontinued them due to the fact that it was too expensive to make and be competitive. They were really gobbled up in a hurry. But they still employ the same mechanisms in their more expensive line of digitals - Like the ones with mahogany cabinets and built-in speakers. I got a quote on one of those, which was regular $4700 for $2700, but can't use that format in my setup. It weighs about 150 pds. Also, I found a MP9500 floor model at Jim Laabs.com for around two grand - But he was asking too much for a floor model. I know that I'm beating a dead horse here, but that's how impressed I was with the 9500.
"Women will never be equal to men until they can walk down the street with a bald head and a beer gut, and still think they are beautiful."
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I called my local Yamaha piano dealer to get cuurent pricing and models. Here's what I got from the store manager.

 

GranTouch Models (real acoustic grand action and pedal system, sampled sounds only, no harp/strings)

 

DGT2A (mini 3' case)

Retail: $17,250 on sale $11,999

 

DGT7A (4' 11" case)

Retail: $21,000 on sale $15,695

 

He did mention the discontinued GT2 which he said sold for $5995 but did not have a real grand action like the other GranTouch models. He described it as essentially a digital piano in a mini grand case.

 

Moving on to real acoustic pianos with the Disklavier functionality.

 

DGA1 (4' 11", stand grand piano with playback only DisKlavier functionality-you can't record or run silent)

Retail: didn't get from him, on sale $17,000

 

DGC1A (5' 3", standard grand piano with full DisKlavier functionality)

Retail $32,000 on sale $24,000

 

So some of our disagreement probably has to do with the models. I still contend that they're pricey and that the real pianos aren't that much more expensive. Plus they are a niche instrument and I doubt that they would be as easy to sell nor retain their value as well as the full grands would.

 

Busch.

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Busch,

He did mention the discontinued GT2 which he said sold for $5995 but did not have a real grand action like the other GranTouch models. He described it as essentially a digital piano in a mini grand case.

According to Y's site, it uses a real grand action. Go to Y's site and check it out for yourself. The difference between the GT1 and the GT2 is the lid that can open. (It's faster just to google GranTouch. Perhaps Mike Martin could add to this.

 

I thought the price of my GT1 was reasonable. I paid in Dutch guilders and now we have the Euro. I believe I paid something in the neighborhood of $6,000 (US$).

No guitarists were harmed during the making of this message.

 

In general, harmonic complexity is inversely proportional to the ratio between chording and non-chording instruments.

 

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I called the US (I only pay about 7 cents per minute) and spoke with Yamaha. I was told that the GT2 is no longer being made. I would assume they still have some in stock somewhere.

 

You are correct that what is being offered, a GranTouch with a Diskclavier lists for about $18,000.

 

This makes no sense. For $6,000 or so, a restaurant, church, cruise ship, theater or a private home could have a real piano action and an excellent grand piano sample.

 

This seems like a dumb move from Yamaha. I wonder who makes these marketing moves from Yamaha? I bet they don't sell many $18,000 hybrids. For that money, some would just buy a 'real' piano. I guess I should invest in another GranTouch before they are all gone.

 

From Yamaha's web site, I learned that the GranTouch uses a 30 meg sample and the Disclavier GranTouch uses a 16 meg sample. It would appear the lower priced GranTouch (which appears not to be made anymore) has a better(?) ... certainly, a larger sample.

 

I was give an e-mail address of a cshearer@yamaha.com who is a marketing guy for these pianos. I'll post what he writes me.

No guitarists were harmed during the making of this message.

 

In general, harmonic complexity is inversely proportional to the ratio between chording and non-chording instruments.

 

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Are you sure about the REAL PIANO action on the GT2? According to my source it is not. Is the GT2 in the mini-grand case? If so, why would the DGT2A (alsi in the mini-grand case) cost twice as much (or maybe three times as much as I don't know if the $5995 GT2 is retail or discounted)?

 

Busch.

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Originally posted by burningbusch:

Are you sure about the REAL PIANO action on the GT2? According to my source it is not. Is the GT2 in the mini-grand case? If so, why would the DGT2A (alsi in the mini-grand case) cost twice as much (or maybe three times as much as I don't know if the $5995 GT2 is retail or discounted)?

 

Busch.

Busch, check this out for yourself ... it comes from Yamaha's web site spec sheet for GT2

No guitarists were harmed during the making of this message.

 

In general, harmonic complexity is inversely proportional to the ratio between chording and non-chording instruments.

 

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The GT2A (or whatever it is) seems to be a souped up GT. It is called a Disclavier GranTouch.

 

I would consider buying another GT1 or GT2 just to move into a restaurant. It would be my piano and my job.

 

I will post what that marketing guy sends me. This is very disappointing to hear. Finally someone makes a real grand action with a fantastic sample and then they screw around with the basic idea. I would love to have my opinion solicited for such things. (I spent 20 years in the military as a musician and can never recall having my opinion asked for anything; the people in charge had two great qualities - incompetence and arrogance.)

No guitarists were harmed during the making of this message.

 

In general, harmonic complexity is inversely proportional to the ratio between chording and non-chording instruments.

 

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follow up from Yamaha .....

 

Dear Dave,

 

The actual models we sell in the USA are Disklavier GranTouch DGT2A (available in polished ebony and white) and DGT7A (polished ebony and mahogany). DGT2A is 3 ft long, and DGT7A is 4'11" baby grand size.

 

To my knowledge, the GranTouch versions of these instruments are still made by Japan and may be available in Europe. For our market we have decided not to carry them due to low sales volume. However, they may be available from YMCE which handles marketing in the Benelux countries. I was able to find reference to these models at this website:

 

link from Yamaha

Musically yours, ===================================== Cameron Shearer Product Manager, Piano Division YAMAHA Corporation of America E-mail: cshearer@yamaha.com Web: http://www.yamaha.com =====================================

No guitarists were harmed during the making of this message.

 

In general, harmonic complexity is inversely proportional to the ratio between chording and non-chording instruments.

 

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I think I'm seeing the difference between the GranTouch (GT2) and the Disklavier GranTouch. The former is the grand piano action and a sample playback unit while the later has full Disklavier capabilities. You can record. You can playback from the DisKlavier library and the keys probably go down like on the acoustic piano versions.

 

I agree. It's too bad they discountinued it. That would have been of interest. The current models are just too expensive as I don't need that functionality.

 

Busch.

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I don't get this. What's a GranTouch piano with "Disklavier capabilities"? If the instrument use samples anyway, in what way is this different from MIDI? In the recording of pedals, perhaps? But recording pedals as continuous controllers can be easily made via MIDI. So it's just a matter of having motorized keys for playback? And what the purpose of this would be?!

 

Dave, Busch... can you enlighten me?

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Originally posted by marino:

I don't get this. What's a GranTouch piano with "Disklavier capabilities"? If the instrument use samples anyway, in what way is this different from MIDI? In the recording of pedals, perhaps? But recording pedals as continuous controllers can be easily made via MIDI. So it's just a matter of having motorized keys for playback? And what the purpose of this would be?!

 

Dave, Busch... can you enlighten me?

Marino, I own the simple GT1. It is just a real piano action with a 30 meg grand piano sample, that's it. That's pretty basic and was reasonably priced.

 

The Diskclavier, according to Yamaha's web site is the GranTouch (with a 16 meg grand piano sample) and the following ...

Diskclavier GranTouch features

 

Keyboard recording & playback

 

Record and play back your own performance directly on the Disklavier GranTouch piano.

 

Listen to the world's greatest artists perform 'live' in your own home complete with lifelike key movementon Yamaha PianoSoft disks.

 

Play one hand while the Disklavier GranTouch piano plays the other.

 

Cancel the key movement on prerecorded songs to play your own duets.

 

Change the tempo of recorded performance without affecting the pitch.

 

Transpose recordings into other keys to play or sing along.

 

Control all main functions via the remote unit from the comfort of your chair.

 

Access a world of audio/MIDI CD music software, including the Yamaha PianoSoft PlusAudioTM discs, to reproduce high-fidelity vocal and instrumental audio tracks, synchronized with 'live' piano performance.

 

Store a library of your favorite songs on 16 internal memory disks, group selections as you like, link groups for continuous chain-play performance, even program automatic timer-controlled concerts.

 

Learn to play, the easy way, with SmartKeyTM technology, which leads you through songs note by note and provides professional embellishments and auto-accompaniment.

 

Nearly 700 instrumental voices

 

State-of-the-art Yamaha XG tone generation provides hundreds of realistic instrumental and specialty voices, plus sophisticated digital effects.

 

You can select and play many of these instrumental voices separately, or combine with the piano for interesting layered sounds.

 

Record your own piano and instrumental arrangements.

 

Listen to professional combo, ensemble and fully orchestrated concerts on Yamaha PianoSoftPlus disks

 

Use the internal tone generator in conjunction with external MIDI resources.

 

Direct computer interface

 

Link to your personal computer with a simple, single-cable connection.

 

Store musical data on your hard drive or other computer media.

 

Access a wide variety of additional performance software.

 

Take advantage of computer music software for listening, composing, editing, even printing the music you play.

 

Access the vast range of online music resources, like downloadable Internet files.

 

Privacy and other digital advantages

 

Control the volume of live or recorded performance to ensure appropriate sound levels.

 

Play or listen in total privacy by simply plugging in headphones.

 

Fully digital instruments, Disklavier GranTouch pianos never need tuning, but can easily be adjusted to match the pitch of other instruments.

 

MIDI and AUX connections offer easy links to other electronic music and audio components.

 

Elegant, traditional designs

 

Disklavier GranTouch pianos are available in a choice of styles:

DGT2Acompact, space-saving traditional styling fits neatly into smaller spaces, and is easy to move and transport.

DGT7Abuilt within the actual body of a Yamaha acoustic grand, for classic beauty at an accommodatingly compact 149 cm in length.

 

Graceful lines and careful craftsmanship add an air of elegance to any environment.

 

Lids can be raised to either of two open positions for extended sound projection and visual appeal. [end]

 

Why someone would pay two or three times the original price of a GT1 for the above, is beyond me. They are telling me that they are not marketing the GT1 or GT2 in the US because they didn't sell many and now they add more bells and whistles, jack up the price (to about $18,000) and they expect to sell these?

 

Does that sound right to you?

No guitarists were harmed during the making of this message.

 

In general, harmonic complexity is inversely proportional to the ratio between chording and non-chording instruments.

 

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Originally posted by Dave Horne:

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Why someone would pay two or three times the original price of a GT1 for the above, is beyond me. They are telling me that they are not marketing the GT1 or GT2 in the US because they didn't sell many and now they add more bells and whistles, jack up the price (to about $18,000) and they expect to sell these?

 

Does that sound right to you?

Not at all. While it's appealing to have a great piano sample in a piano body with a real piano FEEL, I certainly don't believe the additional features above justifies a price hike up to $18,000, especially if they haven't been selling in the US.

 

I agree that ships and restaurants would benefit most from such a piano, but I'd also bet that most of them hire piano PLAYERS that don't need the additional Diskclavier functions.

 

Care to fill us in on Yamaha's strategy here Mike?

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The obvious choice for a basic GranTouch would be (music) schools which slipped my mind. When I was in college we had a dozen or so Yamaha uprights for practicing (along with a few grands). In a music school, such a piano has many plusses - just the ability to use headphones would keep the noise level down. (Of course, the trumpeters would still need a sound proof room for practicing.)

No guitarists were harmed during the making of this message.

 

In general, harmonic complexity is inversely proportional to the ratio between chording and non-chording instruments.

 

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I sent the following e-mail to a Cameron Shearer, Product Manager in the piano division and rec'd a reply ....

 

Cameron, thanks for taking the time to respond. I guess what bothers me, you're telling me that the GranTouch (the basic flavor) is no longer carried in the US because of weak sales. A _much_ more expensive version (with more bells and whistles) is offered and Yamaha expects that to sell?

 

I have played the GT1 in concert and on jobs and love the idea of a real action and a perfectly in tune piano that is easy for the sound guy to work with. I would consider buying a second one just to move into a restaurant. I wonder if the cruise line industry is even aware of the GT series? Does Yamaha aggressively approach industries like that for sales? I would.

 

At any rate, I think the GT could have been pushed more into hotels, restaurants, and the cruise ships.

 

If you are in a position to pass on my comments, I would appreciate it. I had the idea for a GranTouch piano before they existed - a real grand action married to an excellent grand sample. You guys are the only ones doing that as far as I know. I traded in my 6 foot Yamaha after I played the GT at a local theater about six years ago. I was unaware that they even existed. Thanks for reading this.

 

All the best, Dave Horne

 

Dear Dave,

 

Thank you for your comments and I will be sure to pass them on to the marketing manager. Actually, the results in the USA for Disklavier GranTouch sales were quite strong. We are actually the largest market worldwide for Disklavier, and the option of a player piano with a compact yet beautiful cabinet combined with an easily controllable volume filled the bill for many customers. This included those in condos or apartments with limited space and close neighbors. We also used these instruments for outside demonstration events in plazas and malls to reach potential customers who wouldn't normally visit a music store. We have consistently showed the Disklavier GranTouch at hospitality and restaurant shows as well as the cruising industry and placed many in those venues.

 

One big difference between the USA and Europe is that music instruction (especially piano) has suffered major setbacks over the years. Our market research indicates that about half of our Disklavier owners do not play the piano themselves. So there are those customers in our market who apparently love the sound of a piano, wish to own one, but don't play. For them, a small player piano fills the bill.

 

The other big issue for Disklavier owners is the volume of the piano. Many assume that a 6' grand piano should be controllable right down to whisper-quiet, just like their CD player. Of course, if they played the piano themselves they would be aware of how loud a piano can become when played expressively. For this reason, the Disklavier GranTouch (DGT2IIXG) was initially well accepted in our market prior to the introduction of the Mark III series which featured Quiet Mode, the equivalent of a digital piano built right into the acoustic instrument.

 

As for the cruise industry, we supplied the Disklavier for the Queen Mary 2 because that model was not available in Europe, though the other straight acoustic Yamaha pianos were purchased there.

 

Anyway, these are just some rambling thoughts of mine at 6:00am California time. I hope this is helpful for your understanding. Thank you for your E-mails and I will pass them on to the marketing department. Have a great day!

 

Musically yours, ===================================== Cameron Shearer Product Manager, Piano Division YAMAHA Corporation of America E-mail: cshearer@yamaha.com Web: http://www.yamaha.com

 

No guitarists were harmed during the making of this message.

 

In general, harmonic complexity is inversely proportional to the ratio between chording and non-chording instruments.

 

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I just froogled DG2A GranTouch Diskclavier and learned the price was $10,500 in the US. That's not too crazy.

 

Froogle search

 

Yea, I realize that site is based in Europe. I called a store in the US yesterday and they would not give me any prices on the telphone. Could someone ask their local store what a street price would be for that piano? Thanks, DH

No guitarists were harmed during the making of this message.

 

In general, harmonic complexity is inversely proportional to the ratio between chording and non-chording instruments.

 

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Originally posted by Dave Horne:

I just froogled DG2A GranTouch Diskclavier and learned the price was $10,500 in the US. That's not too crazy.

 

Froogle search

 

Yea, I realize that site is based in Europe. I called a store in the US yesterday and they would not give me any prices on the telphone. Could someone ask their local store what a street price would be for that piano? Thanks, DH

Dave, I posted this above. This is from my local Yamaha reseller.

 

DGT2A (mini 3' case)

Retail: $17,250 on sale $11,999

 

DGT7A (4' 11" case)

Retail: $21,000 on sale $15,695

 

Busch.

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