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Old 12-16-2009, 03:00 PM   #21
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When I was in college, I wanted to learn how to play the flute, so I saved up some money, bought a flute and took a lesson. One lesson. (I lived right around the corner from a music college and my teacher was a student there.) I just about died! ( hyperventilation and dizziness). That was the last time I touched the flute.
Yes, the flute requires quite a bit of puff because so much air never makes it into the mouth hole. When I started playing again, I felt completely out of shape, dizzy and breathless. But the more I play, the better it gets! I guess you just have to build up your lung capacity!
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Old 12-16-2009, 03:00 PM   #22
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W2R: I agree with TromboneAl; just buy an $80-$100 electric organ or keyboard (they usually have 61 keys instead of 88 like a piano). Then if you excel at it and really like it, upgrade to better stuff. That way if playing doesn't evolve, you're out less than 100 smackers.
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Old 12-16-2009, 03:12 PM   #23
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Promise you won't laugh ? I played Bass Fiddle for years . My Dad used to help me transport and he'd always say "Why didn't you go with a violin "? I can still picture us driving somewhere and that fiddle taking up half the car .
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Old 12-16-2009, 03:51 PM   #24
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I played the piano for a few years when I was young. I think I lost 60% of it, but even the 40% I retained can entertain me for a couple of hours at a time.

I also sing. It's probably one of my two biggest passions, along with travelling. I wish we could form a virtual FIRE band.
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Old 12-16-2009, 06:17 PM   #25
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Old 12-16-2009, 06:23 PM   #26
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I took piano lessons for 10 years between ages 8 to 18. I can still play a little. A very little. My piano teacher was a Julliard graduate who gave lessons in her home. I remember what a treat it was when she let me play a little on the Steinway baby grand in the living room instead of the old upright in her dining room. She would occasionally play duets with me...she would be on the Steinway, of course. Still think of her fondly...she would be over a hundred as she graduated from high school with my father.
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Old 12-16-2009, 06:31 PM   #27
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I'm a dilettante. Guitar, bass, saxophone, recorder, flute, sing. All enthusiasticaly, none too well. As a matter of fact, I'm getting a xaphoon tomorrow (birthday present). Xaphoon - The Maui Xaphoon (Bamboo Sax or Bamboo Flute) It should be pretty cool for acoustic jamming with my friends without hauling the tenor around.
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Old 12-16-2009, 07:16 PM   #28
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Piano is my avocation and will consume much of my time in ER.
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Old 12-16-2009, 07:25 PM   #29
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Old 12-16-2009, 07:47 PM   #30
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Also, if you're considering buying an acoustic piano, give me a chance to change your mind, because I think the advantages of an electric keyboard far outweigh those of a "real" piano.

As long as you're not a serious musician.


Seriously, though, I have a nice acoustic and a nice digital. I definitely appreciate the digital, especially for practicing odd hours.
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Old 12-17-2009, 06:17 AM   #31
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This is on my list of things to do when I retire. I played piano, accordion, and recorder when I was a kid but wouldn't practice enough to get good. I always wished I had. I sing and have a good ear. I hated hitting the wrong note. I think I might just have enough maturity now to practice every day. I got a guitar to start on.
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Old 12-17-2009, 09:47 AM   #32
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As a matter of fact, I'm getting a xaphoon tomorrow (birthday present). Xaphoon - The Maui Xaphoon (Bamboo Sax or Bamboo Flute) It should be pretty cool for acoustic jamming with my friends without hauling the tenor around.
Happy Birthday! That looks cool, never saw one before. So essentially, it seems like a recorder, but with a reed in place of the "whistle" to generate the moving air column? Or I guess you could think of it as a simple clarinet - one without the keys and hardware to open/close the valves, just fingers?

I have a collection of a few instruments, just noodle on some of them, but can actually (sort of) play some keyboards, and strum and pick a few things on guitar.

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Nah, after I move north I'm going to buy one of those cool Yamaha electric/digital pianos but I am going to buy one that is all packaged up in a wooden body to look like a "real" piano. I think they sound, look, and even feel pretty much like the real thing...
The electronics have come a long way, I think it is the way to go for all but the most serious players. But just remember that the amp/speakers are really important. Heck, an inexpensive iPod-like device can "play" all the sounds that those pianos make. And they are essentially recordings of acoustic pianos, think of it as a bunch of iPods controlled by the keyboard to play the right sound at the right time. But you need some serious amplifier/speaker combo to move some air in the same way that a big old piano soundboard would. Small speakers just cannot provide big sound. But maybe "big enough" for your needs. Just keep it in mind when shopping.

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Old 12-17-2009, 11:59 AM   #33
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Here's my main beef about acoustic pianos. You'll get someone who'll say "Oh, there's nothing like the sound of a real piano. I could never have an electric piano." And you go to their house, and they have a $15,000 grand piano and -- IT'S OUT OF TUNE! Usually way out of tune. You gently and tactfully ask when it was last tuned and they say "Oh, five years ago, I think."

The difference between the feel of my piano and that of acoustics is smaller then the difference between different acoustic pianos.

Other reasons for a digital:

1. Never needs tuning -- always perfectly in tune
2. Easy to move
3. You can record your playing, then hear exactly what you sound like. Much of my practicing involves playing something in to the piano, then moving back, sitting down, and evaluating how it sounds.
4. You can change the sounds to make practicing more interesting
5. Let's say there's a new piece (or lick) you're considering learning. You'd like to hear how you'll sound after you've learned it and practiced it, to know whether it's worth putting in the effort. You can play in one hand at a time at a slower tempo, then speed it up and listen. You'd be amazed how much fun this is. Here's an example. I played that in at 92 BPM, hands separate, then sped it up to 154.

Here's another example. I wanted to learn the lick that happens 27 seconds into this video. I learned it, but of course it doesn't sound good at slow speed. So I play it in and speed it up, and I can hear that it will sound good when (if) I learn to play it fast (like this). Also, when I wanted to write out that lick, I was able to do it by playing it on the keyboard and having an application write the music.

TynerLick.jpg
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Old 12-17-2009, 12:12 PM   #34
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Happy Birthday! That looks cool, never saw one before. So essentially, it seems like a recorder, but with a reed in place of the "whistle" to generate the moving air column? Or I guess you could think of it as a simple clarinet - one without the keys and hardware to open/close the valves, just fingers?
I got it today from DW. It's pretty interesting. An amazing sound for a little device, sounds very similar to an alto sax. A very deep rich tone for something so small. The mouthpiece is fatter (less tapered) than a sax or clarinet mouthpiece. It uses a tenor sax reed. Takes as much wind as a sax, and is a little difficult to keep on key. Some very weird fingerings, too. The natural notes are fairly similar to the recorder, but the acidentals (sharps and flats) are very strange. It's going to be a challenge. Which is good for the soul, or so they say.
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Old 12-17-2009, 01:00 PM   #35
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I had an electronic keyboard but it died on me in fairly short order. For all the reasons you cited plus I didn't figure I was good enough to tell the difference even if I had a good acoustic piano. But it didn't last very long. So I didn't get another one.
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Old 12-17-2009, 01:40 PM   #36
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Here's my main beef about acoustic pianos. You'll get someone who'll say "Oh, there's nothing like the sound of a real piano. I could never have an electric piano." And you go to their house, and they have a $15,000 grand piano and -- IT'S OUT OF TUNE! Usually way out of tune. You gently and tactfully ask when it was last tuned and they say "Oh, five years ago, I think."....

Valid point but in defense of real wood.... I think they both have their respective uses. I have a Steinway in my living room, it's tuned annually or more often sometimes and I have a lovely Yamaha 88 key, electric. I use them both but for different purposes.

The big problem with the electric is that it's only as good as the PA you run it through. In order to sound like the real deal you need great speakers. I would argue that there is very little substitute for a good acoustic piano - the 'tactile' sensation of sound as it hits your skin and the telegraphs through your body is hard to duplicate with a digital keyboard unless you are playing in loud sound fields.

OTOH, the electric is more versatile in other ways and more portable. Maybe viewing them as two variations on a theme (like acoustic and electric guitar) suits better.
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Old 12-17-2009, 01:56 PM   #37
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Yes, I can agree with that. I run my Yamaha through a motion sound stereo amp, but it still sounds better with a good set of headphones. It's a tradeoff. Too many people make the wrong decision based on a purist's point of view.
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Old 12-17-2009, 02:37 PM   #38
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When I was a young girl, my parents used to have our piano tuned by Mr. Van Pelt, a piano tuner from the Netherlands who spoke almost no English but who did an almost magical, wonderful job with our piano.

Between tunings, sometimes a note would "go flat" and for that I had one of those instruments with which I could fix that. Sort of like an antique socket wrench with a wooden handle and just one fused socket, as I recall. Having perfect pitch didn't do any harm, and I did such minor fixes with my parents' blessing from age 8 on up. But I couldn't have kept it in good tune forever without Mr. Van Pelt's magic every few years.

I would imagine that good piano tuners are hard to find and expensive these days. That was the case even then (back in the 1950's).
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Old 12-17-2009, 03:34 PM   #39
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An interesting book, in which piano tuning plays a big part, is Grand Obsession. It's about a woman who decides to relearn piano, and her quest to buy the perfect piano. She takes years and travels over the world to find one she likes. When she finally finds it, she just loves the sound and spends over $30K (original plan was $5,000). When she has it shipped from NY to Minnesota, and it gets left outside or something like that. When it arrives, she no longer likes the sound. She has tuners travel from as far away as NY, and after years of frustration, eventually gets the sound she wants.

The first half of the book is good, the second is annoying.
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Old 12-18-2009, 02:41 AM   #40
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Like bbamI, I have a real talent with the kazoo, especially for those who consider "annoying" a musical quality.

Took piano lessons for 8 years. Lost interest just before my teacher dropped some blues on me. I loved playing them but had already moved on both emotionally and mentally. I regret not having been introduced to that genre earlier in my lessons.

I think my next instrument (and the one I'm messing around with now) is blues harmonica. Don't think I'll get very far with it, but who knows? Plus, it fits in my pocket and is marginally less annoying than the kazoo.
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