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Digital Pianos

(22 Posts)
petitdonkey Thu 19-Sep-13 14:51:32

Hey all,

DD is 7 next month and would love to learn the piano. School have advised waiting until year 3 but I thought a keyboard/digital piano (are they the same thing??) might be a lovely Christmas gift.

I would like something that could see her through early piano lessons as there is no way I'm buying a piano if she's not going to stick at it but the choice of digital is baffling so I thought I'd ask for help here.

Please can you advise me if you know anything at all about the subject? Ideally I'd like to spend £200 or under but could stretch to £300 if it would make a huge difference to quality.

Thanks in advance.

petitdonkey Thu 19-Sep-13 23:54:28


Reiltin Thu 19-Sep-13 23:59:56

I started piano lessons when I was six. A digital piano is a fancy and expensive keyboard! The most important thing is that the keys are weighted. Otherwise, it doesn't feel like playing a piano, which will be a problem.

petitdonkey Fri 20-Sep-13 11:32:43

Thank you for your response - do you happen to know of any models worth considering?

Reiltin Fri 20-Sep-13 20:16:23

I don't, I'm afraid. If I were buying, my first stop would be Which! The other great thing about a digital piano is that you can plug in headphones - a bonus for everyone ;-)

petitdonkey Sat 21-Sep-13 08:37:09

Thanks again - I will keep looking. smile

r3d3 Sat 21-Sep-13 08:49:52

The headphones are VERY useful. I switched from digital to real when I moved house and miss being able to play at any time of day (and when the baby's asleep).

Digital piano technology is amazing now and while there's still a difference, you'll be totally fine on a digital for ages, probably even up to grade 8. I'm not a purist though..

For that money id look for a really good second hand one I think, people often buy them and don't use them as much as they thought. My friend recently got a clavinova for £100 though he's a great bargain hunter.

Yamaha are good, they make other sorts than clavinova, less piano looking but still weighted keys. Also Roland I think. Have a look at what models are on Gumtree/eBay and then check the reviews online.

petitdonkey Sat 21-Sep-13 10:41:28

Thanks so much - so I'm looking for weighted keys above all? Is Clarinova a technical term or just the name that Yamaha give the model? Sorry, clueless!!

BanjoPlayingTiger Sat 21-Sep-13 10:47:45

My daughter has had a Casio Previa since she started learning. She is now at grade 5 level and really needs a real piano.

An electric piano is different to a keyboard. Make sure that anything you buy has weighted keys and be prepared for a lot of snobbery about it from piano players.

ihearthuckabees Sat 21-Sep-13 11:09:19

As banjo says, a keyboard is not sme as a digital piano. Digital piano feels very similar to an acoustic piano, because of the weighted keys. And the sound is a digital sample of a real piano. A keyboard has springy keys and a different sound, a synthetic sound. A keyboard is about £100 and a digital piano, more like £700 for bottom of the range (although a table top one is possible for £400).

The clavinova is a brand name for a whole range of Yamaha digital pianos. They also make the Arius, which is a budget version of the Clavinova, and is supposed to be very good considering the price tag (£700).

Some piano teachers are a bit snooty about digital pianos, and some will definitely not accept a pupil with only a keyboard (as the touch is so different). But not all are like this. It is something to discuss with the teacher. I would suggest you find a teacher first and ask their opinion. Also, they often have waiting lists, so worth contacting them early anyway, as you,ay have to wait for lessons.


petitdonkey Sun 22-Sep-13 07:09:30

That is really useful advice - thank you. We just don't have the budget for a real piano at the moment (a friend told me I'd need to spend £2000??) but it seems mad to spend £700 on a digital if we will eventually need to change to a real piano.

I will give it some more thought - do you think just a fun keyboard for christmas to play on is a bad idea?

I really appreciate the advice.

vicarlady Sun 22-Sep-13 07:18:39

I suggest looking at www.gear4music.com

I have bought 2 pianos from them in recent years and been satisfied both with producer and service.

Sorry, i can't make the a link!

vicarlady Sun 22-Sep-13 07:19:24

Producer? Product!

3littlewomen Sun 22-Sep-13 07:27:35

Hi, you do NOT need to spend £2000 on a first pre-owned piano! Find a reputable shop where you can purchase a decent pre-owned piano with the facility to trade it up in a few years (many shops over here offer up to an 80% allowance on what you initially paid for the piano).

Yes, to finding a teacher first and seeing what they say.

Disclaimer..., my DH owns a piano showroom, is a tuner (but we do not live in UK)

OwlMother Sun 22-Sep-13 07:46:12

We are in the same position. Ds3 (7) wanted to learn the piano. We have no piano- nor space for one and are reluctant to outlay a lot in case he doesn't continue. His piano teacher (very proper- very classical) reacted to enquiries about a keyboard/digital piano with mild horror, however the head of music at school was more useful. He said we needed weighted keys, full sized keys/ keyboard and the ability to add pedals. In the end we have cheated slightly- bought one from gumtree for £170, owned by an former music teacher. It has a full sized keyboard and pedal but hasn't got fully weighted keys- they're touch sensitive. If he keeps going for a few years we're prepared to upgrade, either to a piano or a higher spec digital one. One point- in discussion with the piano teacher I used the word keyboard where I should have said digital piano. Seemed a minor point to me but it seems this may be why she freaked!! Keyboard apparently is a term more associated with those instruments that can do many "voices" and beats, and animal noises etc..... Ds electric piano only has piano, organ, harpsichord settings. It's an entry level Yamaha by the way- hope this is of some use!!!

ihatethecold Sun 22-Sep-13 07:50:48

My dd started lessons last year at school. Aged 9.
We bought a Yamaha keyboard from a friend.
The school haven't said anything about us using this or that we should get something better.
I am now thinking of getting a digital piano.
Where I live there is a shop which lets you rent pianos.
Maybe you should look into rental until your sure she will carry on playing.

MadeOfStarDust Sun 22-Sep-13 08:08:37

We have an entry level Yamaha digital piano - it cost us around £600 including a decent stool (adjustable height stool is essential really when they start young!).

The main advantage to us was that it took up little space UPSTAIRS.. there is no room downstairs and a piano would not go up our stairs.... headphones are a good thing too!! and the adjustable volume control.

Our piano teacher is happy to teach her on it for as long as she wants (5 years so far), with the proviso that after grade 4 (currently studying grade4!) she will need some serious practise time on a piano. School have said she can use theirs at lunch/after school, so we can keep going for a while that way....

Anthracite Sun 22-Sep-13 08:15:42

We bought a digital piano a few years ago. I think it cost around £200. It has the full number of weighted keys. It is a nice piece of furniture.

DD is now on Grade 4 so absolutely fine for learning.

3birthdaybunnies Sun 22-Sep-13 08:33:30

We got a secondhand yamaha clavinova - think it was 150. It has a lovely sound - it is 20+ yrs old but in 5 yrs we've only needed to have a minor repair. It has weighted keys and 4 sounds. The bonus over a piano too is that it never needs retuning! Dd1's piano teacher won't teach them unless they have piano/ weighted full size digital at home - practicing regularly is essential for progression and an important habit to get into. I think a toy keyboard would probably be a waste of money and might be off putting especially if you can't do chords etc. You can always e-bay it at a later time. For big things like that I would call it a 'family present' so there are no arguments if someone else wants to learn and you can dispose of it if it is unloved.

MissWimpyDimple Sun 22-Sep-13 21:08:34

I'm in a similar situation to the OP and am erring towards a yamaha np11. Somewhere midway between a digital piano and a keyboard. I know it won't be the same as the real thing but at under £200 it seemed like the right thing until DC decides if this is for keeps!

petitdonkey Mon 23-Sep-13 16:40:37

MissWimpy - a friend of mine only recommended that Yamaha today! I think that it could be the perfect choice for us too. I will compare it to the Clavinova that has been mentioned.

3bunnies you are right that a toy keyboard would be a waste but I don't want to go up to huge prices either - great to hear that your DD is doing well on the Clarinova.

There's such a huge price difference isn't there? StarDust mentions 'entry level' at £600 and others are suggesting models at £200 - this is why I'm so baffled by it all!!

Really appreciate you all taking the time to post.

pianoteacher1 Tue 05-Aug-14 11:20:01

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

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