Jump to content
Awful horrible bad shit is happening in the USA right now, if you are afraid of your fucking feelings getting hurt this isn't the website for you. ×
jimmyjazz

Piano pron

Recommended Posts

I know there are some piano players around here . . . thought I'd start a thread to discuss.  I have a specific question for the next post, but to kick it off, here is my sister's Steinway B, which is a 6' 10" small grand.  She is a professional who specializes in vocal accompanying and who has worked with some of the biggest stars in the classical world.  She also plays with a major US opera company, and runs regional auditions for the Metropolitan Opera (NYC).  Her steadiest gig is as a teacher at a couple of universities.  Basically, she's a badass. 

Back when I had more spending money than I have now, I bought this piano for her.  She went out and auditioned over 30 instruments, mostly Steinways and a couple of Bosendorfers, before she settled on this one.  It has a deeper, darker tone than most, which seems to work best for an accompanist.  It's a stunning piano in every way.

IMG-7598.jpg

 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So, my specific question:  we want to buy my daughter a digital piano for one of her HS graduation gifts.  She specifically wants something she can haul around and which won't overwhelm a dorm room.  Some of the features we're looking for are:

 

-- 61 or 73 key

-- realistic weighted piano action

-- a great onboard acoustic piano sound, nothing else needed (no synths, organs, Basset hounds, etc.)

-- headphone output required, speakers optional (but I'll probably get her a small amp, so speakers are really superfluous)

-- no stand required, and an integral stand is a no-no

-- battery operation would be a bonus

 

I'm a Yamaha fan, but any of the other major brands would probably be fine as well (Roland, Nord, etc.).  She'll be getting other gifts, so it would be nice if this one would come in under $500 or so, but I'm willing to listen if there is a compelling reason to go higher.

Thoughts?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 minutes ago, hullabelew said:

I know shit all about pianos, but that is a hell of a gift you gave your sister. Wow.

Shit, she did so much for me when I was young.  She's four years older and would send me money all the time.  Money she couldn't afford to send.  I had hit a small windfall and it was a very easy decision to get her that instrument -- she was trying to do professional work on a fucking spinet.  It just made no sense.

That thing has probably doubled in value.  We have an unspoken agreement -- it can be sold to bail either one of us out should the need arise.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

ha yeah, nice gift.

I need to buy a house big enough to fit a Yamaha C6 before my dad kicks the bucket.  The one sister lives in NYC and the other has a fancy Steinway and I'm the only one who is a lifelong musician so I feel I have dibs.  I have a Yamaha P250 sitting in the garage that was my college piano - it is/was a good instrument but I'm sure is outdated as hell now.  Looks like Yamaha replaced it with the CP300.  Probably too big/heavy for what you want, but I'm glad I had a weighted key keyboard and I'm always partial to Yamaha.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 minutes ago, Celery Man said:

Looks like Yamaha replaced it with the CP300.  Probably too big/heavy for what you want, but I'm glad I had a weighted key keyboard and I'm always partial to Yamaha.

Yeah, too big and too pricey.  I have a Yamaha S80 that I've gigged with a bit and it's like hauling around a dead man in a casket.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

you spend 40 large and couldn't afford to get her a decent bench?  

 

jk that's beautiful.  

 

 

we have a yamaha arius ydp 181.  i love it.  doesn't have many bells and whistles but the weight and resistance is perfect.  thinking about getting a second one but we don't really have the room for it.  it'd be the casio privia px-s1000.  portable and can run on batteries.  also feels really good, much like the arius.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
23 minutes ago, gsoda3 said:

it'd be the casio privia px-s1000.  portable and can run on batteries.  also feels really good, much like the arius.  

Hmmm . . . hadn't seen that one.  Thanks.  Might be a bit heavy for her, she's tiny.  My Yamaha S80 is 54 lbs, which isn't a ridiculous amount of weight, but when it's in the shape of a keyboard, it's a pain in the ass to lug around.

Thanks, we'll consider that one.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
16 minutes ago, jimmyjazz said:

Hmmm . . . hadn't seen that one.  Thanks.  Might be a bit heavy for her, she's tiny.  My Yamaha S80 is 54 lbs, which isn't a ridiculous amount of weight, but when it's in the shape of a keyboard, it's a pain in the ass to lug around.

Thanks, we'll consider that one.

yeah it's only been around for a year i think.  one of the reasons i like it so much is it's super light.  you'll be really surprised how light it is.  and did i mention it works on batteries?  batteries!

Edited by gsoda3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here’s ours from the listing pics when we bought the house a year ago. Sellers threw it in because they didn’t want to move it. My daughter plays pretty well so that was a plus.

53a3eef7fd84c336bf75a2f37fd6002d.jpg

It’s a Yamaha, the guy who came and tuned it said it’s a middle of the road model. It’s loud.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, jimmyjazz said:

Shit, she did so much for me when I was young.  She's four years older and would send me money all the time.  Money she couldn't afford to send.  I had hit a small windfall and it was a very easy decision to get her that instrument -- she was trying to do professional work on a fucking spinet.  It just made no sense.

That thing has probably doubled in value.  We have an unspoken agreement -- it can be sold to bail either one of us out should the need arise.

Props man, what a cool thing to do for your sister.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

jimmy, i have a lot of experience and research to bring to bear on this one...what is the ultimate purpose of it and how critical is transportation?  

realistic hammer key response is all about the doepfer LMK4 (but there is no way you want to spend that and it is really for midi - though it is HIGHLY transport) and the roland a series (again, for midi).  both are expensive controllers and clearly not what you are looking for.

my at home, non-midi electronic is a korg kronos which has the best sounding onboard acoustic piano i have heard.  it sounds fantastic.  lots of bells and whistle but again, not cheap and also 88 keys.  love the sound and love the action on the keys though.  

the only controller i know of that has positive reviews on sound and has really good hammer action on the keys for less than $500 is the Studiologic SL series.  But again, controller.

I think what you are looking for will require compromise on the key action if you want to stay under $500. Plenty with good sound.  At the end of the day, I suspect the Yamaha P series is probably what you are looking for.  Roland, Nord, and Korg all make great pianos with good key action and great sound if you are willing to go to $900+.

 

as for the pr0n aspect of this, I highly recommend watching this video.  it is a tour of the Schimmel manufacturing facility in Germany where Schimmel pianos are made.  Awesome and informative video.

https://youtu.be/oNc60ZHFVL4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, sidis said:

what is the ultimate purpose of it and how critical is transportation?  

She's a budding songwriter . . . pretty extraordinary for her age, if I do say  . . . and she is always bugging me to use the acoustic piano in my little office/studio.  At least 50 hours per week that just can't happen.  I can't be trying to work and have her hashing out new tunes.  Plus, she'll want to bring it with her to college, so it needs to not overwhelm a dorm room.

 

Quote

my at home, non-midi electronic is a korg kronos which has the best sounding onboard acoustic piano i have heard.  it sounds fantastic.  lots of bells and whistle but again, not cheap and also 88 keys.  love the sound and love the action on the keys though.  

the only controller i know of that has positive reviews on sound and has really good hammer action on the keys for less than $500 is the Studiologic SL series.  But again, controller.

I use my Yamaha S80 as nothing more than a MIDI controller these days, because I'm not gigging any more, so it simply sends signal to my computer where I trigger whatever.  But, I can run it to an amp or headphones, too.  Does the Studiologic have analog outputs (1/4" and headphone)?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

sounds like you got yourself an easy solution...give her the yamaha s80 and get yourself a little controller upgrade there.

i don't think it has a headphone or analog jack (just usb and 5-pin) because i think it is a pure controller.  I don't own one though.  i use a roland a-88.  the love for the studiologics is because they have a legit fatar key bed.

p3.jpg

 

Edited by sidis

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

While we’re on the subject: I have an 88 key controller that I used to connect to my iMac but the iMac died. I don’t really need another iMac and they are expensive. Can I get a “brain” for the keyboard and hook it to a PA? If so any recommendations on the brain?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Buzzrock said:

Here’s ours from the listing pics when we bought the house a year ago. Sellers threw it in because they didn’t want to move it. My daughter plays pretty well so that was a plus.

53a3eef7fd84c336bf75a2f37fd6002d.jpg

It’s a Yamaha, the guy who came and tuned it said it’s a middle of the road model. It’s loud.

Beautiful floor. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Buzzrock said:

While we’re on the subject: I have an 88 key controller that I used to connect to my iMac but the iMac died. I don’t really need another iMac and they are expensive. Can I get a “brain” for the keyboard and hook it to a PA? If so any recommendations on the brain?

you don't need to have an iMac.  any computer that can run a daw (logic, ableton, fruit loops, protools, garage band, etc...) will take the midi signals in and turn them into any sound you want.

the general wisdom is that it isn't really worth it to use a midi controller without a computer...and alternatively, if you have an iPhone with garage band, there are lots of ways to connect the midi to your phone for garage band to collect the data.  once it is there, you can do whatever you want with it.  that said, if you just want it to run sounds through a speaker without a computer, it is possible.  the cheapest that works well is probably:

https://www.amazon.com/ammoon-Midiplus-MiniEngine-General-Generator/dp/B01DGAN3N6/ref=as_li_ss_tl?keywords=midiplus%2Bmini%2Bengine&qid=1554131989&s=gateway&sr=8-2&linkCode=sl1&tag=musicianshq-20&linkId=9af26b5f6b9d02065b80acc5b36dd5e4&language=en_US&th=1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I can’t speak to that price range, but Nord has a great piano sound, but even their top of the line has just an ok feel.

If it’s partially for school, what’s the piano/practice room situation at school? Depending on the dorm, a digital piano might become a hassle. There might be a building full of pianos just down the road from her dorm.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 minutes ago, Mole said:

If it’s partially for school, what’s the piano/practice room situation at school? Depending on the dorm, a digital piano might become a hassle. There might be a building full of pianos just down the road from her dorm.

She's not majoring in music (well, she might double major), she just wants to keep writing and playing.  It needs to be portable enough to drag it back to Austin on weekends when she visits.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If I ever buy another acoustic piano, it will probably be a Yamaha U3.  I used to own a U1, but sold it to Tony S (Fastball) because he did more with it in a year than I had ever done in the decade I owned it.

427DE39AADE447B5A30422DF725647A8_12073_735x735_c587b9fef86903b89a823353fa512cf0.jpg

 

 

But my dream rock 'n roll grand is the Yamaha C3 (now C3X).  I just don't deserve it:

Yamaha baby grand piano with lid open viewed from right side.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nice thread.  
 

I inherited my father-in-laws C3.  They’re pretty great.  
 

I was going to suggest a Nord 73-key too... just for the optimal size and for the sound library.   Can’t speak to quality/feel of the keys though.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Steinway's FB page has a lot of cool info and photos/videos from the factory. They also showed a factory restoration of a pair of pianos from ~140yr ago? Incredible stuff, very cool to watch.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

effd054b3a5073e32cee05d1ee3e8948.jpg
Want an Acrosonic. Just because it looks so cool.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Chiming in (sometimes besides the weather thread, I peruse the music threads).
Okay, pianist here, LONG TIME pianist here (50+ years), my main instrument (along with organ).  Understanding that 1) everyone has preferences, and 2) you probably won't go wrong no matter what you buy, here's my 2¢, heavily weighted (pun intended):

1) Even if this is a "casual" piano, DO NOT get anything less than an 88.  The 61's and 73's are fine especially for r.h. melodies, but they leave out critical bass notes.  Even if she's "just" going to write songs and isn't keen on being a pianist, when she (or anyone else) runs through a song in piano style, it should be a piano.  All 88.  The other stuff to me is usually rock/jazz/pop extras with your 88 keyboard.

2).  Me?  Yamaha Yamaha Yamaha!  Even grands.  Yamaha does everything incredibly, from grills to goggles to... pianos.  I think their grands are spectacular, I like 'em better than Steinway and Bosendorfer (and others). Again, my take:  Yamahas have a tinier bit brighter sound which cuts through especially well, and I LOVE their action... it's a hair lighter than Steinway.  Steinways are of course tremendous pianos, but I hear them as a bit fatter and "old fashioned" with plenty of mids and bottoms.  They carry the best weightier sound, but Yamahas have a cleaner, fresher sound to me.  And the action - I think Yamaha makes a better rock piano because of a slightly lighter action, and has more versatility.  FYI, Billy Joel's a Steinway guy, Elton John has always been a Yamaha guy (and Billy's style to me is more pounding/percussive Steinway-good, Elton's is more lyrical and pointillistic (of course he can bang the shit outta it too, but I can hear a cleaner difference in Elton).  Anyway, I think Steinways have a bit more "slog" to the keys, Yamaha's seem to invite faster arpeggiating, etc.  All this is my take, and I'm sure you'd get disagreement.  But every time I sit down to a Yamaha, my playing is MUCH better because I love Yamaha's.  To me there's no piano like it.  (Bosendorfer is midway between the two I think).

3) Great... but what about electronics?  Again, my god Yamaha has done an incredible, FANTASTIC, AMAZING job of trying to duplicate their acoustic piano sound and action on their electrics/electronics.  And my GOD they do it incredibly.  And my GOD they have a better sound than anything remotely close out there (Rolands, Nords, you-name-its).  Again, my opinion, but Yamaha has an advantage because they manufacture such incredibly FANTASTIC acoustic pianos, that all they do is try to model their electronics after them.  And they do.  No, they more than do.  I've played dozens of Rolands, Korgs, Casios, whatevers, and all of them to me are nothing like Yamahas.

4) I have a little treat here... I own a 1990(!) (get that, 30 years ago, STILL GOING STRONG!) Yamaha Clavinova PF-100 (obviously way out of production now, but you can buy used ones for about $250-$500, mine was originally $1,300 I think).  This thing is used a lot, and I've been banging on it for 30 years and it's still as fresh as day 1.  It's got tons of features without being cluttered.   88 weighted keys, a few onboard sounds, MIDI (obviously not USB) capable.  Stereo speakers, studio inputs/outputs.  Everything.. but it's very compact (not a lot of flashing lights and knobs and crap, just a few buttons).  This thing is so freaking great that I've wanted to buy a "real" grand, but frankly have not needed to!  My god this thing is like playing a real Yamaha grand, period.  The sound, the feel, etc.   So anyway, yeah, you get my love for Yamahas.  The treat is I did something I thought was pretty cool recently.  I put myself against George Winston and did a virtual duet.  George usually plays a 9-foot Steinway grand (yum!) and here I am with my little Clavinova.  Without too much effect added (maybe some reverb), George is on the right channel and I'm on the left.  I start out playing his stuff identically and then we more or less split off after about a minute or so.  You can freaking hear the slightly brighter feel of the Yamaha, but I dare anyone to tell me this doesn't sound like two guys on the same stage at the same time.  The Yamaha's that good.  Maybe some day I'll buy the grand, but jeeezuz, I don't need it to take up space right now.  This thing has continually amazed me to the point I just keep saying "why buy a grand when I have this?"

Anyway, the link for your listening pleasure (again I'm on the left channel and George is on the right):
https://drive.google.com/open?id=1LZO0sfFMQhKJgRKAjdNAwQLgriA7fh3B

You're going to have to do a lot to convince me that one piano sounds "digital" and the other "natural".  Nope.

5)  All that said, Yamaha has a great "starter piano", the PF-45.  88 keys, weighted, stereo (silencable) speakers, studio compatible, a few onboard sounds (which are incredible, and the ability to split/combine keyboard sounds (I do this when for instance I want to dupe my piano with a "string" background). Also, Yamaha has now gone the extra step of weighting these keyboards with slightly different weights, just like their (and everyone else's) "real" grands!  That is, the lower keys have a bit heavier weight as do real hammers on grands, while the upper keys are lighter (again, different mechanism weights due to thinner strings)  Your daughter won't get lost in knobs, buttons, and complexities.  It's very easy and powerful while being portable.  I'd put it up against anything you come up with.  About $499.  (I can do Wikibuy for $475 on it).  Even if she's "just" writing songs she can enjoy the feel of a real piano (not some knock-off) and once she gets used to it, I think people sort of snuggle up to their piano and it helps their songwriting.

https://www.amazon.com/Yamaha-88-Key-Weighted-Digital-P45B/dp/B00UJ9LNDK

Now, this is not their most exquisite model, and there might be a few things that the pro or serious pianist feels are not up to snuff maybe, but for the student or "songwriter" I think it's a good deal, as good as anything out there.

Alright, that's my pitch.  Of course there are a lot out there and she'll like whatever.  But bang for the buck?  Nothing, and no one, beats Yamaha IMHO.  Yes, just MHO.
Did I mention here that I'm partial to Yamahas?
 

Edited by phdhorn

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks, phdhorn.  I was hoping you'd weigh in.  The PF-45 looks like an interesting option.  Price is fine, and I'm sure it sounds and plays great.  I don't think it will have the portability she wants, but maybe her dream of taking her battery-powered keyboard out to the South Mall to jam is a bit overcooked anyway.

Let me just counter your point about 88 keys:  I play too, started formal lessons at probably the same time (4 years old), was "a prodigy".  I moved to brass instruments as a primary focus about 10 years later.  That said, I can get around on a piano.  While I think a 61-key model is just a hair too limiting for her, a 73-key version IF ALL ELSE WERE THE SAME would probably be ideal.  You need to understand her motivations:  she is a percussionist.  She's a killer percussionist.  "Made it into UNT" level percussionist.  However, her true heart is in songwriting, and her hero (and her style) is pretty aligned with Fiona Apple.  She sings like a bird, writes at a level 99% of those I've heard at her age can't touch, and she knows her needs.  She just doesn't get to those outer half-octaves.  It ain't happening.  She's not going to be learning Debussy or Bartok or you name it -- and if she decides she wants to, then I'll buy her a real acoustic piano, not a portable keyboard. 

So, there's the back story.  In this particular case, I just don't think the feature of 88 keys overcomes the additional weight, again, if all else were the same (and that may be a pipe dream, all else may never be the same with a shortened keyboard because the target market could be different).

Really appreciate the input from y'all -- and as a fellow Yamaha fanboy, I really align with phd's perspective.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Two follow ups:

1)  The PF-45 is very light, so portability isn't a problem (solid state in 2020 is a helluva lot lighter than solid state in 1990).  That said, I've heard that the weighed action is decent but not quite the nails on as the more expensive ones.  Still, it's pretty decent (I've played around on it).  
2)  On the keys - obviously 73 keys are from the Rhodes Mark I standard, which of course happened because they didn't know how to make the upper and lower notes of an 88 sound good.  They finally perfected the tone generators by '72 or so and put out the 88.  But by that time the 73 proved so popular, due to size and use in bands (where the upper and lower extremes were often unplayed within band settings).  So synthesizer manufacturers took the lesson and put out 73 key models, mostly due to size and weight being easier to tote around (never mind the suitcase design of the Mark I made packing up easy.  But that's all in the past.  The technology nowadays makes many 88 key boards light and easy to tote, and I think the 45 is one of them.  Nevertheless, people like the smaller notes.

Even if songwriting, having those extra keys might actually expand her possibilities.  A few extra bass and treble notes?  Maybe.   When I write songs (or play) piano only, like 90% of pianists, in pop music I often double the left hand in an octave.  Nothing is more frustrating than having your pinkie slip "off the keyboard" while in the middle of playing out your stuff.  For me it's hair-pulling to resort to "one note" while I'm playing in the midst of two.  And sometimes with some styles (blues, fast or slow boogie, or whatnot) having those extra bass notes matters.  For that matter, a lot of Adele's stuff is piano'ed out using those extra 7-8 bass notes, especially the C-A notes not on 73's.  Plus if your daughter is a percussionist at heart, nothing like pounding the very lowers or uppers for percussion (I played a lot of stuff, Ginastera, Stravinsky, even John Hiatt!) where those keys are pounded).

But sure the use of 73 keys is fine for writing.  But if she's going to adapt to putting songs down using a piano, I think 88 is better (playing something else like guitar or whatever to sound out new songs, not so much).  I guess the entire point here is 1) since you can get those 15 extra keys at really no heavier weight and only a tiny bit more length than a 73, 2) and you have those keys if you ever need them, 3) and those keys could come into play as you get a little more comfortable on the piano, then why not spend essentially the same $ with that extra reserve? All that was of course just my experience, as I've said.  I need those keys to survive!

In any case, she won't go wrong getting a nice basic keyboard with 7-8 on board sounds (there are keyboards with "piano sounds only" but they're usually no cheaper and often the piano they do have sounds like shit anyway), she'll be okay, be it 73 or 88. Just beware of "budget boards".  I think you can get a good basic keyboard with built in sound, and good piano to boot, for $150-$600 (I would be very leery of going below that, unless used).  Anyway,  she's explorative, she'll find a way to use what's on there to help her, whatever it will be.

God bless Yamaha! (yeah, I've owned Roland, Ensoniq, Fender (Rhodes) and other brands, but keep coming back to The Three Tuning Forks!)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, I think the first thing I need to figure out is whether there's a short-board piano (preferably 73 key) that meets our sound and action criteria.  If not, then it's a moot point -- 88 keys it is.

Thanks.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


mpu


Football ... Basketball ... Baseball ... Other Sports ... Recruiting ... Gambling ... Movies & TV ... Music ... Hobbies ... Lulz ... Food & Travel ... Daily Texan ... Help ... For Sale ... Politics ... Board Discussion
×
×
  • Create New...