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I have a Yamaha Clavinova CLP-535. It feels heavy which is more noticeable when playing chord sequences. So I measured the key down weights using a technique for acoustic pianos. Around middle C the key down weight is about 87 grams. A medium weight acoustic piano has a key down weight of about 50 grams. (Down weight is felt before the key damper lifts) When I contacted Yamaha Support, they replied it was within specification.

Is there a reason why digital piano keyboards should have such a heavy down weight compared with acoustic pianos?

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    No. A lot of the Yamaha pianos I've played have felt on the heavy side. – Tim Apr 16 '19 at 11:27
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    Where did you get the information about the medium key-down-weight (50 grams)? Maybe this is true for upright-pianos and most manufacturers of digital-pianos try to simulate the key-down-weight of grand-pianos? Grand-pianos have a higher key-down-weight which allows you to play more dynamic. – Olli Apr 16 '19 at 12:12
  • Marcus at Roberts Pianos, Oxford has many videos on YouTube looking at pianos they take into stock, refurbish and sell or hire out. The piano tuners association has a forum too. Marcus talks about the regulation and quality of the key mechanism. I think their website has a page dedicated to measuring one's own piano. Five £1 coins and a 20p piece if you don't own a set of weights. The Royal Mint gives average coin weights and tolerance. – Emma Apr 16 '19 at 14:55
  • You are making unwarranted assumptions, as the other comments suggest. If your real question is, perhaps, "Are there any digital pianos with adjustable keyboard downweight" that might be of interest. – Carl Witthoft Apr 16 '19 at 15:13
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    The adjustable key action on my Clavinova only changes the key velocity value in MIDI key down messages and sent to the internal synthesiser. The physical force needed to push the key down doesn't change. The physical force applied overcomes static friction and accelerate the key to reach the required velocity. The key velocity is measured as the key approaches the key bed. It emulates an acoustic piano where the force overcomes static friction, accelerates the complex key mechanism (against gravity / spring), lifts the string damper and then throws the hammer at the strings then catches it. – Emma Apr 16 '19 at 20:11
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I've had the pleasure of playing hundreds of acoustic pianos over the years. Grands, baby grands, uprights, spinets, harpsichords ... I've also played many keyboards and digital pianos. There is no universal down weight. Yamaha grands feel different than Steinways. Some Yamahas feel different than other Yamahas. Fatar keybeds tend to all feel the same (at least in my experience) but they're not weighted. I will say my NI Komplete Kontrol feels slightly heavier than my Wurlitzer studio upright but I don't agree that digital piano keybeds are generally heavier than acoustic keybeds.

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  • I concluded that the feel of a digital piano is a compromise. The cost of adjusting the feel of the Clavinova is high and I risked wasting my money and not getting the right result. I bit the bullet and changed to a Kawai MP11SE. It's a stage piano that has almost full length wooden piano keys of a design very similar to those in a grand piano but with sensors. Key down weights are normal. The piano unit weighs >40kg, very heavy. A lighter design = approximate feel = more portable. Currently, I plan to get a good acoustic too when I get to higher grades; but plans can change... – Emma Feb 6 at 23:35

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