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Thread: buying a real piano...

  1. #11
    DavidK's Avatar
    DavidK is offline Ravel wannabe
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    Roel, cant you just use a piano at the conservatory? Thats what all the theory/comp guys did when I was in school. Plus, hanging at the Music school is a great way to meet the babes. Five thousand seems really high for somebody who is going to school, maybe a used one for five hundred, as long as it can stay in tune.

  2. #12
    TMHill is offline Newbie
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    This is just my opinion. I am one pianist among many, and we all have our views. This is what goes through my mind when buying a piano for myself, or when assisting others in their purchase.

    With regard to touch - what level of pianism do you want to get to? If you want to have a good depth of control, you need to get a piano which feels "heavy" to play. (There are springs that repel the keys which can be of varying strength). This will be hard to play - more tiring - but if you ever want to be in a position to get a really beautiful sound out of the instrument, then you need those fingers as good and strong as they can be.

    However, if you just want to learn how to knock out a riff, harmonise a tune, learn harmonic structures, and have an instrument that has a vast dynamic and pitch range - and is something to really grapple with (in the way that keyboards simply aren't) then DEFINITELY find one with a lighter touch.

    Next, concentrate on what the keys feel like to depress. Does it feel like wood rubbing on wood? or does it feel clean? The wood rubbing feeling will be on more expensive pianos that will eventually play exactly how you want them to - but there's an awful lot of "action noise" in that. If you ever did want to record it, it could sound like you breathed out every time you played a note.

    Next - listen carefully to an individual note in at least three different registers (bass, mid and top). The guys in the shops playing Chopin are NOT testing the pianos to buy. They are showing off. Play the same note (and maybe its neighbours) LOTS of times. Its the attack too harsh? (this can indicate worn hammer felts, or cheap hammer woods) Do you like the "colour" of the note? What's the decay on the string like? Is it too quick? (crap strings) or does it vibrate way too long, sonding all cheap and ringy? When you release the note, is the sound cut off instantly? or is there a very subtle "buzz" as the string dampens? If you play a bass note REALLY loudly, does the quality of the note diminish?

    The actual piano structure is also very important. What space is it going into? If its a small room, get a small piano (I'm talking height, not keboard range). Taller pianos make a much more lovely noise in a warehouse, but cause too many harmonic problems in small rooms. (Some people don't believe me on this. Go into any conservatoire in the world, and go to their practice rooms. They don't do this to save money.) And here's something no-one tells you about - get a proper piano stool, sit on it in front of the piano you like. Adjust the height of the stool so that, with elbows at your side (not that you keep them there), your hands resting on the keys - with your wrists straight - you are in a comfortable position for playing. Then look at some music on the stand. Are you having to look at a funny angle? Because if, like me, you're really tall, and you get a short piano, then you are constantly having to look down at the music, which is spectacularly bad for your neck and back.

    Next, are the black keys standing proud enough on the keyboard? There should be as much depth to them as the white keys. Do they feel the same to play as the white keys? Do thes key themselves feel cheap and plastic?

    Finally, new vs s.hand. A new piano becomes yours. It starts to respond better to the way you play. But a second hand piano can yield a greater instrument for the same price. For a beginner, I would almost always suggest a second hand piano. (One thats not too old, though. Just old enough to get a good reduction!) The thing to remember is that, across the range of the keyboard, the strings, felts and woods have become more accustomed to the way that the previous owner(s) played. (Again - people don't believe this. Take ANY piano that is played regularly by an average standard pianist. Listen very carefully to the black notes and the white notes. The black notes will almost always have a different quality to the whites - because they simply haven't been hit as many times.) This is not something a beginner usually needs to care too much about - and indeed some recording pianists actually prefer this random element, as it adds character to the overall tone.

    Oh yes - think about after sales care, too. You seem to have a fair amount to spend on a piano - they should at least check it over once a year, and throw in a few free tunings, too.

    That's it from me. Its great to hear someone wants to learn to play the piano and compose!

    All the very best
    Tom

  3. #13
    Sonic Misfit's Avatar
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    Roel,

    If there is any way that you can afford or fit a baby grand, you might want to consider it. I have had a couple spinnets and console models over the years, but none compared to the baby grand I have now.

    It was a sacrifice, but well worth it. Besides, in two or three years, you'll be wanting one anyway.

  4. #14
    Michael Jones's Avatar
    Michael Jones is offline Who else ya gonna get?
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    Originally posted by Sonic Misfit
    Roel,

    If there is any way that you can afford or fit a baby grand, you might want to consider it. I have had a couple spinnets and console models over the years, but none compared to the baby grand I have now.

    It was a sacrifice, but well worth it. Besides, in two or three years, you'll be wanting one anyway.
    That is so true, but room/size constraints may be an issue. I rented a piano once for a while, and although I didn't buy from the same company, the would have credited the rent towards a purchase. I think I paid $35-$40 bucks a month for the rental, and could rent it for as long as 3 years.
    [SIZE=3][COLOR=RoyalBlue][FONT=Garamond][b][i]"Nobody digs ya music, butcha self"[/i][/FONT][/COLOR][/b][/SIZE]

  5. #15
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    Just make sure you know who REALLY makes the piano you are buying if you go with a Japanese or "American" brand.

    A yamaha could be a young chang.

    A Baldwin can be a Sammik.

    I would try to find a used 51-54" Studio Schimmel or Steinway if you can find a good deal on one. The Studio's have longer strings, larger sound boards and can sound about as good as a baby grand. They usually have simpler cases so you are paying for more piano and not fancy trim.

  6. #16
    Roel's Avatar
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    Thumbs up

    WOW!!! I NEVER expected so many good responses here... Thanks!!

    David... I can probably use a piano at the conservatory; but the main problem is I have been playing an electronic piano for over 3 years. If I play on a REAL piano, I'm totally lost. So I need a piano to practice for my intrance exam.
    Also, at the moment I'm not a student. Just a workerguy like most of you. Next year I'm a poor student again. I could buy a cheaper piano, which would allow me to eat a little more the next years, but on the other hand, I'm pretty spoiled with the good tunings and sound of my electronic piano. It really is the feel that is missing there...
    I'm still doubting between a good and a cheaper model... The thing is, I will only be at home in weekends, and in the week I can practice at the conservatory. On the other hand, if I buy a good one now, it will still be good when I graduate... Very hard choices...

    TMHill, fantastic answer. Wow. Thanks. Gotta read that a few more times. What I can tell you already is that I need a light touch. I have very weak wrists; so heavy touch will just kill me... Oh well... I'm getting used to the pain...

    Michael. I don't have the time to order and read the book.... Wish I had. And it took me 2 months to get my mother to allow me to put an upright in the livingroom. I'm not gonna try the same thing for a baby grand.

    Sonic; I want a real grand. Concert grand, everything, but I'm still on a budget and placing...

    I will look for the Studio Schimmel or Steinways. Got a few more shops to visit. Also talked to the conductor of our fanfare, he 'knows' a guy in a shop somewhere... Might get a good deal there...

    Keep it coming! Cool...

  7. #17
    Roel's Avatar
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    Oh... Forgot a part...

    For now, the yamaha's are winning. The V118 sounds good; like the action too, and is still just in my budget. The U1 is a little more, and it might be worth the little extra. It's hard to compare. We put the V118 against the wall, which makes a hell of a difference, the U1 was standing in the middle of the room.
    The V124 (more expensive than U1, out of my budget) was also in the middle, and didn't sound as good as the U1. So that would mean (since the V124 is just the V118 but bigger) that the U1 would definately be the one... 'Till now that is.

    Didn't like the Kawai price-equivalent for the U1. Sounded to clean, to nice, not enough power to it compared to the U1. (Kawai was also against the wall, which gives the piano even more power...)

    On the other hand, the room there was quite big. Maybe the U1 would be a little too much in our living room; so the V118 might be it anyways...

    I also went to another store, that also had some 2nd hands. Didn't like anything he had. And almost all his piano's were slightly out of tune. Didn't matter for the shopkeeper. He could hardly play anyway...

  8. #18
    LongWaveStudio is offline 1K Silver Member
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    casio anyone???.......:-) :-)
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  9. #19
    TMHill is offline Newbie
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    Only if its got a cool demo tune played on that Oingy-Boingy brass sound with realistic drums accompaniment.

  10. #20
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    Hey Roel....

    Why not be like Frank Mills...

    Build a beautiful Steinway-like piano, but instead of it being fuctional, just put a flat shelf where the keys should be, and Put your casio there....

    The crowd doesn't even know the difference..


    (By the way, thats a true story... Frank Mills Piano is actually like that....)

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