What is an Action?

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Over the years I have found some customers become confused about the differences between acoustic piano actions and digital piano actions. I hope the following information will help in understanding the differences.

An acoustic action consists of a system of levers that move felt hammers that strike the strings when a key is depressed. Having a wooden key adds to the feel of your piano playing experience, but the key is not actually part of the action.

Think of the key as the accelerator pedal in your car and the piano action as the engine.

The action parts consist of, just to name a few, the wippen, repetition mechanism, jack, let-off button and the hammer and more. Acoustic pianos can incorporate 6,000 plus individual components if you add in all the felts, leather and wooden parts.

When the key is depressed it sets the action in motion. The hammer, then hitting the strings produces a vibration that travels down the string into the bridge and then into the soundboard to create the speaking sound.

Some of this vibration also travels back thru the wooden parts of the action to the fingertips of the player creating perfect harmony, connecting the piano and the player.

Confused between acoustic piano actions and digital piano actions? This article can help.

A digital piano should have graduated weighted keys. If they are wooden keys, the player will obtain more of the acoustic feel. The parts, in the simulated action of a digital piano, are NOT wooden or moving like that in an acoustic piano.

They do move, but they are not required to have as many parts. Because there are NO wooden ACTION PARTS, strings or bridges, the player will not feel the vibration like in an acoustic piano.

They still give you the weight and spring return, but there is NO WOODEN ACTION.

A hybrid piano, which is only built by Yamaha is the best of both worlds. It gives you wooden keys to start the “action-reaction” and either a vertical or grand “wooden” action depending on which model you choose.

This allows the player to feel the vibrations, but the hammer doesn’t hit an actual string.

It works through fiber optics. But the moving WOODEN parts of the action give the player the feeling they are looking for with the convenience of a digital. This means your hybrid piano is always in perfect pitch.

Actions and parts are very important for you to know the difference when looking at your musical options.

Trust what you feel and hear. If you are shopping for an acoustic look at the action and the inside just like you would if you were buying a car and looking at the engine!

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