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Recommend me an upright piano please?

31 replies

GuyMartinsSideburns · 17/02/2016 09:41

Hello I'm looking for some advice/recommendations please!

Last night I had my first piano lesson and I loved it. Came home absolutely buzzing with excitement and I would've loved to have been able to sit and have a practise but I don't have a piano yet.

I'd like a full length/size piano but I don't know where to start! I have plenty of room in the dining room for an upright so no problem there. It's more that I don't know the different makes and models and what would be good for a beginner but also be something I wouldn't need to upgrade. I think I would like an actual piano rather than a digital one but I imagine there is more upkeep involved re tuning etc.

I've seen loads of wonderful looking pianos on eBay but of course I know it is about what's inside and I don't know what I'm looking for - what makes a good piano etc, also if work needed doing to one I don't know what I'd be looking at price-wise to afford the refurbishments.

I will of course be going to my local music shop and talking there but any pointers would be most appreciated. Sorry for the rambling and no knowledge of correct terminology!

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VeryPunny · 17/02/2016 09:46

What's your budget?

You generally can't go wrong with a Yamaha or Kawai - also Knight Pianos are good. We are buying a Yamaha Silent Piano - basically it's a totally standard upright, except you can push a button and plug in headphones and it transforms to a silent digital piano. I only get to play mainly when the children are in bed and this way I don't annoy the neighbours/wake the children. It's about £8K but cheaper silent pianos are available. A new, bottom of the range (and still excellent piano) Yamaha is about £2-3K. There are also some very, very good digital pianos now for £500-800 - the Pianist magazine sometimes does good review guides.

Second hand pianos are a bit of a minefield, unless you have a good shop nearby who you can trust (can your teacher recommend?). You can get some bargains as they are so difficult to move but there are so many vairables - one option would be to buy something to get you going and upgrade when you are a bit more experienced.

VeryPunny · 17/02/2016 09:48

Ooops - just seen you don't want to buy then upgrade - sorry!

Also a taller cabinet is generally thought of to be better (basically an upright is a grand turned on its end) - look for something 121 - 131 cm high.

SalmonMaki · 17/02/2016 09:51

Where in the country are you? We bought our 2nd hand Yamaha U1 from here in Tottenham, London. Massive choice of Yamahas, as well as some other makes. They have already done all the refurbishments on the 2nd hand instruments they're selling, so it's all good to go.

Alternatively, your local music shop might offer a rent & buy scheme.

I too started learning piano as an adult. I initially got a free piano through freecycle, it was pretty awful, but gave me something practise on, before I committed to the cost of a "proper" piano.

Where did your teacher get their piano from? Any help from them?

SalmonMaki · 17/02/2016 09:52

Ps I pay £50 each time for a tuning, twice a year.

MuddhaOfSuburbia · 17/02/2016 09:57

we have two local piano shops (south london) and both do a rent to buy scheme- which means if you get sick of it you can take (?!) it back, otherwise the payments are offset against the total cost


GuyMartinsSideburns · 17/02/2016 10:35

Well initially we can't spend more than £1000, ideally much less than that tbh! Maybe it's worth a punt on a cheaper one if it comes my way, just to start with?

My piano teacher works from the music shop that's near me, I think they sell refurbished ones too but I didn't have time to hang around last night after my lesson. I will def ask what she recommends I do at my next lesson.

We're near Bath/Bristol. Thanks for your help, lots to think about!

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Gruffalosgrandma · 17/02/2016 11:24

I have a clavinova , full size , weighted keys. If you had your eyes closed you wouldn't know it wasn't a piano. It doesn't need tuning and I can play it any time, day or night , using headphones. Love it .

GuyMartinsSideburns · 17/02/2016 11:56

I will def look into something like that, initially I didn't want to but I hadn't considered I may end up winding up the neighbours or waking the kids up Blush

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Ferguson · 17/02/2016 19:46

This is the latest Roland model, and is claiming some very superior technology. Go to Roland's own web site for more detailed information:

CoteDAzur · 27/02/2016 22:02

OP - Go to a music shop and look into buying a good second-hand piano with credit, which they can arrange for you. We got a second-hand Hoffmann piano and pay about £30 per month for it. We can give it back at the end of 2 years, and if we do, it will be like we rented it. If we continue to keep it (and we will - it is fantastic) we will own it in 5 years.

I really recommend this system, as it will allow you to try a piano over an extended period of time (at home!) before actually buying it.

Going to a music shop will also let you try different pianos and see the differences for yourself. Personally I prefer European pianos to Japanese ones by far (Kawai, Yamaha) as their touch and tone is by far more pleasant and richer.

GuyMartinsSideburns · 29/02/2016 10:42

Thanks Cote - I've been in the shop and picked up a leaflet as it appears they do something like you've mentioned - can choose one, put down 10% and then make a payment each month for either 12 or 18 months and no interest. I'm planning on going in on Friday with Dh for a proper look, and will chat at my next lesson next week.

its all very exciting but Im anxious about choosing something I'll regret! Confused

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MuddhaOfSuburbia · 29/02/2016 12:52

does anyone know about Monington and Weston?

they used to be made in the UK- a quick google tells me they're now made in China and finished in the UK- whatever that means?

I'm looking for a piano that will take Ds up to grade 8 if nec (they're on 2/3 on an electric piano at the mo)- I was going to buy second hand but my mum would like to buy them a new one!

Ferguson · 02/03/2016 20:16

I could be mistaken, but I have memory my Nan used to have a Monington and Weston in the '40s and '50s.

I think 'made in China' isn't a particularly strong recommendation for pianos these days, and I would guess 'finished in UK' could mean the final 'voicing' and tuning would be done here.

(If you can find it, the Quest TV channel had a super programme on the making of a Steinway concert grand, a few months ago.)

Are you 'set' on an acoustic in preference to digital?

The latest Roland seem excellent, and unlike acoustic won't need tuning, maintaining, of be susceptible to temperature, humidity etc:

If you do go for a new 'acoustic' I would advise you research it very thoroughly and try to hear different models in top class showrooms:

GuyMartinsSideburns · 05/03/2016 08:06

Completely forgot to go to the music shop yesterday as was super busy. I'm thinking il prob end up going for finance on an acoustic at some point, but this means I need something to practise on in the meantime.

I've seen various keyboards but they've all had 61(?) or so keys, and a full size piano has 88 is that correct? I wondered how something like that would be to practise on for the time being? Worth a go or not really seeing as it's not the same size? Sorry I'm prob sounding ridiculous here but I don't want to waste money, I'm just keen to get something sorted to at least have a practise on before I commit to finance etc

Any help is much appreciated!

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Ferguson · 05/03/2016 17:31

Yamaha, very sensibly, have anticipated your dilemma, and do the 76 note Piaggero series that have 'graded soft touch', so bass notes feel 'heavier' than high notes.

The NP32 only has ten sounds, is around £240.

The NP V80 has 500 sounds, numerous styles, and can multi-track and record around £320

GuyMartinsSideburns · 05/03/2016 18:05

Thanks v much for your help! Il look into that now. Most appreciated Smile

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wonkylegs · 05/03/2016 18:40

I see you've gone in a slightly different direction as I was going to say we have a lovely Irmler piano. Beautiful and lovely to play but probably out of your budget, but if you came across one they are lovely pianos.

bookbook · 05/03/2016 19:01

Just asked my DH , who sold pianos many years ago, and still has an interest.
Digital pianos are very good, however they are not the same as a real one.
Its unlikely that you could get an electronic one (unless second hand) in your price bracket that would come any where near the 'touch' of a real one . ( For example a reasonable new one would start at £1500-£1600)
A reasonable quality, second hand upright should be easily possible for your budget , from a reputable dealer , set up and condition is everything. A larger , more old style is more likely to be cheaper and better, but bear in mind that they dislike central heating ( smaller, more modern ones are less of a problem) You may just beable to get an old Kemble for example

GuyMartinsSideburns · 05/03/2016 19:35

Thank you very much. Yes I didn't think I would get a digital one for the budget I had in mind but initially I hadn't considered a digital, I'd love an acoustic but being able to play 'quietly' at all hours is slightly appealing! I do think acoustic is what I really want, and the finance/deals available mean that this is a good possibility. I need to make some notes and get to the music shop! Any particular names I should look out for?

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bookbook · 05/03/2016 21:03

There are probably some we don't know about these days!
Kemble or Knight are a couple of good names.
The thing to do is go to the biggest piano shop near to you. They should be happy to let you sit and play any of their pianos, so you can get a 'feel'.

GuyMartinsSideburns · 20/03/2016 22:01

Sorry me again Blush have come across a Justin Browne grand upright piano very close to me so I wanted thoughts please! Couple of hundred quid and it looks lovely on the outside but I notice 2 of the keys look lower than the rest. Do I run a mile or is this something easily rectified? I don't want to waste money of course but wondered if it was worth a punt or not.

Many thanks again Flowers

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GuyMartinsSideburns · 21/03/2016 12:48

I asked the seller about the keys and he said they've been fixed since the pic was taken and showed me a more recent pic. So that's better, but I will look more into the name.

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GuyMartinsSideburns · 23/03/2016 06:18

Decided to decline, think I'm going to just get a digital to practise on for now, and an acoustic when I'm badass Grin

Thanks very much for the advice Smile

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Mondrian · 23/03/2016 06:38

We started looking for a new digital piano a couple of years ago so that we could all practice and learn, budget wasn't really an issue but didn't want to invest in an expensive one in case the initial interest was not followed up. Anyway during the search we fell in love with a U1 yamaha and bought that. Its a great piano and we don't regret purchasing it but kids are not really following up their initial interest (neither are we) so its more of a decor these days. I do however think we would have gotten more use out of a digital piano as it would have enabled us to practice silently (with headphones). Its true that the feel is not the same but if you are a newbie like us it doesn't matter as initially its all about reading & being able to play the notes ... Another advantage is that it is portable and takes up a lot less space.

If I remember right there were a few decent digital options for sub £1k

lavendersun · 23/03/2016 06:50

If I wanted a new piano I would ask my piano tuner, he knows people who are in the market for selling their much loved and well looked after pianos.

He offered me an incredible bargain last year, a Bluthner grand that had been completely refurbished for half of its worth because the owner was downsizing.

I didn't buy it because I didn't have room but I now wish I had done because I have moved house!

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