GHS vs GH3 Piano Keys

• Jun 9, 2017 - 07:07

Are Graded Hammer Standard keys of the Piano are infereior than the Graded Hammer 3 keys of the Piano?
Are both are fully weighted keys?


Inferior is a big word for it. In this Yamaha-specific terminology:
GHS is their standard way of simulating the touch of a real piano; whilst it is their cheapest implementation to produce, it is in itself already much better than the old keyboard feeling. Most entry level to intermediate students will be fine with it.

GH(E) has been their "premium" technique for quite a few years. It's a different implementation with more realistic weight distribution among the keys (heavier on the lower end, lighter on the top end) and higher velocity accuracy than GHS. It has been advertised as "meeting the expectations of the professional player".

GH3 is a newer version of GH/GHE. The improvement to the internal sensors allows for a faster note repetition detection; very close to acoustic pianos.

But in the end, it's up to you to decide whether the price range differences warrant the different feelings. Go to a distributor, ask for some play time on each model, preferably having them right next to each other, so you can switch easily. Most distributors don't mind you spending 15-20mins testing out their models if they get the feeling you're serious about possibly buying them.

In reply to by jeetee

GH3 stands for Graded Hammer and number 3 the stands for three weighting sensors laying behind each key (instead of only two for GH). Many electronic keyboards for reproducing a sound of other instruments reproduce (play) sound samples of real instruments. Better electronic instruments do not have only one sample for each pitch/instrument. They actually have multiple samples for the same instrument/sound and the same pitch and reproduce different samples according to different playing conditions. Three weighting sensors allow you to apply (play) three different samples for soft/normal/hard playing conditions.

Imagine a sax, if you play it piano it will have one soft and warm sound color, if you play it forte it will have much harder and stronger color. That's not only difference in loudness. On forte this sound will have different harmonics in it - in order to reproduce more realistic sound and this this effect that requires different samples of sax for piano and forte playing. You cannot get the forte sax by playing piano sax sample and only increase the loudness - that will not sound real. So when you press your key hard on your keyboard, your electronic instrument will play louder but also it will use "hard" sample of instrument. So GH3 has better gradation of pressure than GH and can produce more realistic sound for different instruments. Playing only Piano instrument on your electronic keyboard will not have noticeable difference between GH and GH3 but playing other "instruments" like guitar, reed instruments etc - the difference will be noticeable.

FWIW, as a professional pianist who performs on dozens of different pianos both real digital, my take is that these fine distinctions are utterly and completely meaningless. There is as much difference between one real grand piano and another from the same manufacturer but of different ages or different histories 9eg, one was serviced more regularly, another was played more often, or one was in a humid environment and another a dry one, etc) than between the action of one digital piano and another. There is no such thing as One True Realistic Action that all these digital pianos are striving to emulate.

So my advice is just pick the cheapest one that gets you in the ballpark and don't sweat the differences, which I guarantee you are much smaller than the difference between the two different grands on the concert stage at one of the universities where I teach, or the two jazz jazz clubs I play at most, etc.

“The piano sounds like a carnival!   And the microphone smells like a beer!”

Truer words have never been spoken than in the preceding comment.   Every piano is different from every other, and you simply have to adjust your playing to match it.   The same is true of digital controllers.   You can spend absolutely as-much or as-little money on them as the salesman can manage to talk you into spending.   (And may you one day have the singular and breathtaking experience of playing a full-sized Bösendorfer grand piano:   perfectly tuned, lovingly cared for, and in its prime.   Ahhhhh ... magnifique!)

To me, the only important thing is:   you must go somewhere and play it.   Play it for more than just a few minutes, to give yourself time to adjust to it.   Be sure to use different patches so that you react to how the action feels and not simply how it sounds.   Could you be satisfied playing this instrument, every day for the next several years, doing the kind of keyboard music that you enjoy playing, and never feel that you had made a poor choice for you?

I bought a KeyStation 88es controller for about a hundred bucks (gently used), and, after a freak accident involving a precisely-misplaced hole in my roof(!) caused by a falling limb in a soaking rainstorm, bought its bigger-brother for about $70 more, also gently used.   (This one has more knobs, dials, and pads to play with.)   The most important factor for me was eighty-eight keys.   I am now completely accustomed to how it performs and enjoy playing it every day.   Therefore, it was the right purchase for me.   I find that I am mostly focusing on the sound, anyway, not the actual feel of the keys beneath my fingertips.   I expect a slight amount of resistance to my touch and for the action to have a certain amount of mass ... which it has.   That’s all that I required.   But that’s me, and you’re you.

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