All profit supporting special needs music education and Help Musicians
Tutorials

Keyboards Piano - digital or not.. What to look for.

MandyH

Sax-Mad fiend!
Subscriber
Messages
3,551
I am thinking of buying a piano, but I really have no idea where to start! I know nothing about pianos!

The prime reason for getting one is that my 17 year old daughter needs to learn to play piano (she would like to work in music therapy eventually and it seems that being able to play the piano is an almost essential skill)

I though that if we get a piano, I could try to learn too.

We are a little limited on space, so I though a digital piano might be smaller than a real piano, but I don't actually know. And I'm assuming a digital one might be lighter (in weight)

Do digital pianos sound as good as real pianos?

Is there a good make / model that I should look out for.
Is there anything specific that I should put on my check-list?
I have worked out that an 88-key weighted keyboard is a good option.

Why do some pianos have 3 pedals? And should I be looking for one of them?

Is there any post-purchase servicing on a digital piano? (I know real pianos need tuning regularly)

I don't want to spend silly amounts of money, but I appreciate I will have to pay enough for something decent, so maybe up to £1500?

Thanks.
 

fibracell

Senior Member
Messages
605
hi Mandy
I really like the Yamaha clavinova pianos. The action is great and they sound great. I'd avoid the pianos that have drum machines and other gimmicks added. If she has a good teacher, then I'd take the teachers advice...

cheers!
 

Colin the Bear

Well-Known Member
Messages
13,069
I don't play piano myself, but have lived with some and know several.

A keyboard is more practical than a piano if you have a small dwelling. A keyboard is portable too.

Weighted keys give a more real piano feel and touch sensitivity is essential for a serious player.

I'd look for a piano teacher before investing in anything expensive.

There's lots of second hand keyboards on ebay. Some go very cheap £30 or so, I assume because they are so bulky to post and sellers stipulate pickup only.
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
Mandy, this is what I've picked up from my wife over the last many years. I don't play myself.

You really need to shop around. Teachers are necessary and can give good advice, but like sax teachers, they often have a fixation on a specific brand (yamaha 4c anyone?)...

A good cheaper reference brand is Casio. Other good makers (not necessarily exhaustive) Roland, Yamaha, Kawai. When I bought my wife one, we went round the shops, trying out the different makes. I was amazed at the differences in sound and in the actions of each one. we went out with her expecting to buy a Yamaha, cos that's what she'd played and liked before (her folks used to have a piano shop), but came away with the Roland cos of the sound and touch..

Quite a few teachers us electric ones, and they're certainly good enough for practice up to a reasonable level (depending on the digital). But most prefer a proper instrument - if they can afford it.

There's a site which has good reviews, I'll look it up and post later.

Personally I prefer the sound of the Roland to yamahas, but ymmv.

Middle pedal holds the notes being played when you press it. Right pedal lifts the damping off all notes. L pedal quietens all notes as you play them, you might find one that has a half damping action as well.

Lots of different actions, and they range from on/off switches to really sophisticated ones that try and approach the action of a real piano, but never do. However real pianos vary a lot in the quality of the action as well. Buy the best you can, and as was mentioned above, don't look at features/frills.

Nice to have features - transposition ( for accompanying transposing instruments like saxes or playing in a different key to what's written, cos the singer finds the written pitch too high/low), ability to record/playback. Midi interface. Ability to record the hands separately (and play back selectively). Metronome. Dual headphone sockets. 2 pedals minimum (L & R), 3rd if you must. Decent stand (not wobbly) is a must, as is a decent stool.

Maintenance on digital pianos should be close to nill - the Roland I bought for my wife 15 years ago hasn't been touched since - except to change some keys that were thumped by my then rather young son. And it gets played a lot.
 

Clivey

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,022
The other option is to get a 88 key dummy keyboard and a decent sustain pedal and use a computer as your tone producer. Some of the VST plugs are amazing and there are loads of freebies available or you could download demos which are almost fully functional like Reason 6 or Fl Studio which easily outclass many dedicated hardware pianos. Thats actually the Pro Studio route but getting hold of a decent keyboard can be actually more expensive than buying a dedicated piano and using sampled tones instead of the onboard sounds. LOL. I`m in that situation I need a new weighted 88 note Keyboard but I also need my pitchbend. grrr I don`t want to end up with a big Rick Wakemanesque Rack LOL.


If you want to dip a toe in the water I would go down the route of a basic digi piano and as far as I`m aware Gallen who is a member here has one up in the Yard sale as he is moving home.
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
At the asking price that yamaha is a bargain. Probably worth the trip to collect, even if you have to bring hubby along to carry it...
But it's almost end of Feb, so move fast if you're going to. But... Only one pedal, it may not be what she needs.


I don't agree on the dummy keyboard idea, it won't teach her to play the piano, just where the notes are.
 

ArtyLady

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,030
I don't know much about what to look for, apart from definitely get weighted keys, but I have a Yamaha Clavinova CLP,and I love it - feels and sounds like an acoustic piano. Mind you last time I played an acoustic Grand piano it was a little disconcerting because the sound came from within the piano - the speakers face towards you on the Clavinova - but I believe it has an option where you can send the sound via speakers in the back? so it's more authentic, but I've never tried that as mine is against the wall. :thumb:
 

Bigtwin

New Member
Messages
161
I have a Yamaha YPP, which is essentially a poor man's Calvinova. I got it used as new for £150. It's full size (but not as deadweight heavy as a Clav), has velocity sensitive adjustable keys, and the same sampled basic sounds as the Clav, if that matters to you. Fully midi compatible, I use it as a controller for my mac. It's not as close to the action of a really good "real" piano as the Clav, but then, I'm not as close to the action of a really good "real" pianist to care. I've gigged it loads, chucked it in and out of cars and bars, and it's never missed a beat (unlike me). Frankly, for the money it's been outstandingly excellent.
 

Tenor Viol

Full of frets in North Shropshire
Subscriber
Messages
5,944
In terms of acoustic pianos, modern houses have much lower humidity than old houses without central heating etc so you should look at modern pianos (post 1960s) which are built to handle it. Older pianos aren't and ideally need humidity control etc..

You will be surprised to learn that Yamaha make very good acoustic pianos and have been doing it for a very long time (19th century they started). They have a reputation for being extremely robust, well made and reliable. The instruments that are well-regarded are the U1, U2 and U3 series. The difference is size (height in this case) - bigger equals more bass.

There is a very strong second-hand market in U series pianos and a strong import market of used instruments form Japan.

A U1/2/3 from the 1970s onwards should be a very reliable instrument, especially if used in a domestic environment.

I have a Yamaha upright (not a U series) from about 1974, I'm the second owner. My tuner tells me he likes it (and Y's in general). It holds its tuning well (I find it's good for about 9 - 12 months).

On my piano, the middle pedal is a 'practice' pedal which inserts a sheet of fabric between the hammers and the strings and mutes it considerably.

A used Yamaha will set you back £2k to £3k ish. There are plenty of web sites with listings and dealers.

Probably worth taking a pianist/teacher with you....
 

Andrew Sanders

Northern Commissioner for Caslm
Messages
2,773
Hi Mandy,
My business partner has recently bought a Roland (I think) and paid about £800. He seems very impressed with it.
He does have a proper piano in the house but his son seems to hog it all the time.
I'll have a word with him tomorrow and get further info for you.
He bought it online from a UK company.
Andy
 

Tenor Viol

Full of frets in North Shropshire
Subscriber
Messages
5,944
Clavinovas seem to be quite good, but they're as expensive as a second hand decent acoustic. We use a Clavinova at choir rehearsals, but the sound to me still sounds 'manufactured' (this is a new top of the range one). One point is that on their stands they have the same footprint as an acoustic, albeit lower.

Stage pianos such as Roland can be 'put away' and use a foldable 'scissor' stand, but require external amplification and speakers. They are also quite heavy - I can just about carry one on my own (I use one when conducting a few carols with the choir at Christmas - my one and only outing each year as a conductor :shocked:).
 

jrintaha

Senior Member
Messages
283
Anything with a decent feel to it in terms of key weight and sensitivity (and of course a MIDI output, but that's for granted) + Pianoteq Stage (99e) + a USB-MIDI adapter (could be 20e or so). Just listen: http://www.pianoteq.com/listen_ecompetition

Assuming you have a decent set of headphones or can connect your computer to decent speakers, in terms of flexibility and sound quality I don't know if you can do any better. All of the piano models in the most basic Pianoteq version sound fantastic. I'll record something for you tomorrow if I have the time and if you're interested, if you want to hear what it sounds like using a very basic 15-year-old Yamaha keyboard as the input method.
 

Clivey

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,022
Anything with a decent feel to it in terms of key weight and sensitivity (and of course a MIDI output, but that's for granted) + Pianoteq Stage (99e) + a USB-MIDI adapter (could be 20e or so). Just listen: http://www.pianoteq.com/listen_ecompetition

Assuming you have a decent set of headphones or can connect your computer to decent speakers, in terms of flexibility and sound quality I don't know if you can do any better. All of the piano models in the most basic Pianoteq version sound fantastic. I'll record something for you tomorrow if I have the time and if you're interested, if you want to hear what it sounds like using a very basic 15-year-old Yamaha keyboard as the input method.

Cheers for that link. The Player section alone just about has every favourite piece by every favourite composer. LOL. definitely one to bookmark for a nice relaxing evenings listen.
 

Andrew Sanders

Northern Commissioner for Caslm
Messages
2,773
Hi Mandy,

David my business partner bought a Roland F120 from Dawsons and got 12 months interest free credit.
He seems to rate it very highly.

Hope you get sorted.

Andy
 
Saxholder Pro

Members online

Help!Mailing List
Top Bottom