25 February 2020
By Ellie Palmer
Casio’s latest digital piano has been made with the sounds of a Bechstein grand in mind. Thankfully, the merging of the makers has worked
At the end of last year Casio officially announced the release of two newly upgraded pianos from their Celviano Grand Hybrid Digital range, in collaboration with C. Bechstein. The GP-310 was one of them.
I visited Dawsons in the north of England to give it a test drive.
The satin black finish of the GP-310 is very easy on the eye. Satin black oozes panache.
It’s a good size piano – not too big and not too small – making it easy to use and navigate for the majority of pianists. The gold C. Bechstein logo adds another level of class.
The C. Bechstein logo is emblazoned on the lower right-hand side of the keybed for all to see
Austrian spruce keys
The first thing I wanted to do was to see just how ‘authentic’ the piano felt to play.
I loved the action of the keys immediately.
The keys are made from the same materials used in the making of C. Bechstein grand pianos; Austrian spruce wood, acrylic, phenol, and a natural graded hammer action.
The wooden sides of the keys are visible as each note is depressed. This added a lot to my experience of playing the piano. Normally on a digital, you’ll see artificial white plastic – not the greatest look.
Take your pick from three different iconic European grand piano sounds
This Grand Hybrid gives you the option of emulating a Berlin Grand, a Vienna Grand, and a Hamburg Grand.
The Vienna’s bass is stunning. It replicates wonderfully the muffled heaviness that is so synonymous with an actual grand piano. The Hamburg is very warm; a great sound to use if you like performing music from the Baroque era. The Berlin Grand is my personal favourite. It’s the most balanced of the three and (politely) screams elegance.
Extremely personal customisation
Damper noises and string resonance noises are synonymous with acoustic pianos. Casio has taken recordings of these sounds from C. Bechstein grand pianos and implemented them into this model.
Not a fan? You can turn down the volume or switch the sound off completely using the ‘Acoustic Simulator’ located on the piano’s AiR Grand Sound Source – a touch screen navigator on the far left-hand side of the piano.
Casio’s AiR Grand Sound Source
The AiR Grand Sound Source gives you control over pretty much every aspect of your sound from string resonance, to reverb, to the position of yourself in the room!
Yes, you can even hear what you’d sound like from the audience’s perspective.
The key sensors and piano tones have had a refresh since the release of the previous Casio GP-300BK model. The GP-310 now has five sensitivity levels: Heavy 2 / Heavy 1 / Normal / Light 1 / Light 2. Plenty to choose from.
A surprisingly good speaker system
I’ll be honest – I was fully expecting the speaker system to let me down.
How can you replicate the sound that resonates from the strings within a grand piano?
Casio has decided to position the speakers where the piano strings would normally be, in addition to improving the sound projection.
That sounds like a good compromise.
At the moment, this is the closest you will get to owning a piano that sounds like an acoustic grand.
This Casio GP-310 comes close, and offers you a whole multitude of customisable features.
At £2,735, the GP-310 is a wise choice for any pianist.
Discover more about the Casio GP-310 Grand Hybrid here.