A lot of people might be unfamiliar with a great piano/music retailer in the Essendon DFO complex called Exclusive Piano Group. They are distributors of new and used Steinways, Yamahas, Essex, George Steck and Boston Pianos and have a great range of digital pianos , predominantly by Roland. EPG also sells books and sheet music and provides music lessons on-site.
I recently had the pleasure of working with Mark King from EPG when it came time to update the digital piano in my studio (I have a Kawai K3 + a now a new Roland FP-7F). I find it really valuable to have a second piano in the studio and prefer a digital as it gives me the opportunity of accompanying students with other instrument sounds, rhythms, drums, etc. and allows me my own time to practice with headphones if required (late night cramming!!).
Exclusive Piano Group (with whom, by the way, I’m not affiliated) provided a great service and fantastic prices and was able to do package deals with pedals, stands and stools, etc. So if you’re in Melbourne, please give Mark or Alison a call on 1300 199 589 for a quote or pop in on the weekends – it’s just off City Link on the way to the airport and has a great showroom.
By the way, if you are looking for a digital piano with a truly realistic grand piano action, you can’t do much better than the Roland FP-7F for the price. I have been absolutely blown-away with is the “SuperNATURAL® Piano engine” and the PHA III Ivory Feel-S Keyboard with Escapement. The SuperNatural sound is absolutely extraordinary, particularly through headphones, and the action of the damper pedal is the most realistic I’ve encountered on a digital, able to respond to every nuance of half and quarter pedal and even the velocity with which it’s pressed. And you can customise the sound of the piano down to every last detail including the difference in sound when the grand piano “lid” is open or closed (or anything in between!). You can even retune individual notes to perhaps sharpen the upper end as some tuners do for concerts.
The FP-7F can be packaged with a sturdy wooden stand and dedicated 3-pedal unit and it has now become my practice instrument of choice! The escapement and ivory-feel keyboard is as good as any grand, particularly responsive to repeated notes and in fact much more like a grand piano than my Kawai upright. Best of all, it doesn’t need tuning! I haven’t even started exploring all the rhythms, songs, backing tracks and recording options. It also has a smaller brother piano called the FP-4F, however this doesn’t have quite the same action. Similarly, the older FP4 and FP7s also have a much more basic action.
I’ve heard the Yamaha Avant Grand (the first truly “hybrid” digital piano with a full concert grand action in a digital box) might be on the way to Australia, but for the $10,000+ price tag for the cheapest model, I doubt it be worth it when you can get this fantastic machine for around $3000 or less. By the way, I reckon it’s also much better than the far more expensive Roland V-piano which is supposedly their flagship digital grand piano.
Make sure you play the FP-7F when you’re next in a music store… or go see Mark at EPG!!
Best-known for his blogging and teaching, Tim is also a well-respected presenter, performer and accompanist based in Melbourne, Australia. You can check him out on Google+, Facebook and Twitter.