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OK So I retired from work in the summer, and for several years have thought about playing a musical instrument. I have settled on Piano. I have several hours each day spare, away from my other hobby...

I have started to research and have decided on a Digital Piano.

WOW!!! There is so much (too?) much choice out there...

As is normal with me, after I start to figure out makes and models, my budget seems to increase week on week.

So for circa £3500 what would you get? Definitely keep below this price (UK)

I guess I have a shortlist of sorts:

Yamaha...

CSP 170

CLP 745

Casio GP 510

I must admit, the CSP seems an excellent choice as its got the terrific smart functions, which will help me learn I guess...

Open to suggestions

Rav


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Hi Ravanelli, welcome to this forum, and to playing the piano of course!

I would advise you a cheaper solution that gives you a better sound: the VPC1 combined with a VST. Now probably you have no clue what I am talking about, so here is a link to a thread started by someone who wanted to find a digital piano that as close as possible mimics the action of an acoustic grand piano: http://forum.pianoworld.com/ubbthreads.php/topics/2826304/1.html

It is a long thread but an interesting read, and one year ago, I also bought the VPC1, and I combine it with Pianoteq.

Once you have bought your piano and you would like advice on something, welcome to the adult beginners forum! cool


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As another piano newb (about a year in) I want to offer some thoughts.

These things are all very different. Not to dissuade you from going all-in, but you might find that
a) what you buy now doesn’t suit after a year or two, or
b) you lose interest- it’s apt to be a long haul, perhaps more than you expected.

Whatever you do, if you can lay hands on some actual keyboards and see what they feel and sound like, it will be very instructive, even without any background knowledge. You might find that one of these pianos really speaks to you - or you detest the one you thought would be ideal.

I’m very “into” tech, yet I can’t stand any of the app-based learning methods. I like old-school paper sheet music; your mileage may vary.

The VST approach might work for you, but personally having an instrument that is ready to go at a moment’s notice is more conducive to practice - I like several short sessions a day.

Personally, I went entry-level (Kawai ES110) - the combination of light, portable, and relatively low initial investment appealed to me, especially in light of the huge diversity of instruments on the market. In a year or two or three, I may upgrade. Actually this piano is pretty good, so maybe not 😁. Where it lacks is sound volume, which some of the console style pianos may give you. If you’re planning to use headphones, you may not care as much.

I would seriously recommend a teacher - either in person, virtual, or even an online group class.

Also, good to define your goals - classical, jazz, pop, and do you want to play for people or just quietly by yourself?

I think it’s a great thing to take up - I wish you the best in your journey!

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+1 with moltodiletante... Digital pianos are electronic equipments. Their useful life will be in the 10-15 years range. It will take you a good 5 years to be marginally good at piano, so by the time you get good enough to need a good piano, the piano is already old.
Get a simple good digital piano, and A GOOD TEACHER... And unless you are a tech nerd, avoid VSTs for a long time.

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£3,500 is more than enough for your first keyboard. I started learning the piano about two and a half years ago and bought a Roland FP30 and stand for about £600 odd. Without looking at the spec of the pianos you are looking at to see what "smart functions" they have, if you just want to play the keyboard as if it is a piano, then it will probably stay on its default settings after you have played around with it for a few days.

Obviously you can spend more if you want to but the main difference you will probably notice is the more expensive keyboards/digital pianos have better speakers, so if you will play with headphones, you won't benefit from those. If playing without headphones though cheap keyboards can sound pretty tinny but you could rig up external speakers.
Different brands like:Yamaha, Kawai, Roland etc sound different or use sampled sounds or modeled sounds from my understanding so that can make a difference too.
There will be better key technology too the more you spend, but basic keyboards are still pretty good "feel" wise IMHO.

In pandemic times you will also find supply chain issues and you could be waiting a long time for something that isn't in stock so bear that in mind too. Personally I would find a shop that has some keyboards in stock and try a few that you can purchase straight away, buy something for a lot less than £3,500, and if you are still playing at some point in the future you can upgrade then by trading it back in at the shop.

Just my 2 cents


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Try to find a teacher that will be willing to take you as a student and also help you with your first purchase.

You may need to pay them for their time but it will be well worth it.

Then .... take lessons with that teacher.

That will be a good start on your journey.

Bouncing around these forums for advice is a poor idea.

Everybody has a different "suggestion" and the one you choose may be influenced by how elegantly (or forcefully) it is offered.

Good Luck

Last edited by dmd; 12/21/21 02:09 PM.

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I, too, recently retired and I'm 66. I, too, decided to start learning piano (again), a full two months ago. smile

I used an old 61-key keyboard for a month, one that my kid used a quarter-century ago, to assure myself that I would stick with it this time. That old keyboard worked and I now know I will stick with this.

In fact, I'm surprised by how much I've learned in the last two months and how far I've come, most of it in the last month after I got a "real" piano. I can sight read single notes although slowly. I can play right-hand-only songs by just looking at the (simplified) music scores. I'm currently practicing the C Major scale. I can easily perform it with each hand separately and am now working on using both hands. This one requires some finger independence because the thumb cross-under and middle finger cross-over happen at different times on each hand. Whew. But doing it slowly and watching my hands I can see why I sometimes (usually) miss. So I slow down a bit more to stay accurate. I've actually done it correctly five times in a row slowly. Speed will come with practice.

Two months ago I could do none of this. I've watched several YouTube videos on adult learners and I think one fellow nailed it. Adults learn differently but can actually learn faster than a kid because they want to learn, not because their parents are making them do it. Retired people can have the time to just sit down and knock out 15 or 30 minutes multiple times a day. We're not working (usually), we're not in school (usually), etc. If I get frustrated I just get up and walk away and no one cares. Then I come back later.

One key (no pun intended) is to have the piano in a room where it is always visible. If it's in a basement or a "music room" upstairs I think I would have less inclination to just sit down and do a few things.

Anyways, 3,500 pounds sterling is about $4,600 in US dollars. I had set my sights on a Kawai CA79 due to the action that is supposed to be very close to a true acoustic. The CA79 had online pricing of $4,200. But due to shortages there were none to be found.

About the middle of November I called a music store that seemed to have a CA79 in stock. They no longer did but mentioned they had a CA99 that just arrived. I told him there was no way I could afford a CA99 because it was supposed to be over a thousand dollars more. He paused, came back to the phone, and said he could let me have the Kawai CA99 for $4,500 US (including the 6% sales tax), which is about 3,400 pounds sterling.

I was shocked. Two days later it showed up and I love it! I think having a quality instrument makes a lot of difference to me. Two friends who have played for decades and taught piano tried the Kawai. They both said the action was very close to their acoustic pianos and in fact they'd both played worse acoustics.

I, too, looked at the CSP and others that had built-in teaching functions and found them less than optimum for me. You usually are locked into what is programmed into the piano (or that manufacturer's app) and it may only take you so far and then the learning part is just an added cost you're not using. I decided to go for a better quality piano and coming from decades in electronics and IT made me want something without a screen or blinky lights. smile (I do use an iPad on the piano, though.)

The old 61-key keyboard had the stickers on each key that showed the notes. I did not want to rely on the stickers as a crutch and found that after two weeks I was better off without them so I peeled them off. I think the stickers are like the "blinky lights" on some pianos with learning functions. They help in the very beginning but you can become over-reliant on them because you're not learning the key positions by muscle memory; you're using sight instead.

The CLP 745 was my first choice due to the improved action and sound system over the CLP 735. The CLP 745 is advertised at $3,600 US or 2,700 pounds sterling. But as I watched and read a lot more it fell out of favor with me and I decided to go with a higher-quality unit.

As far as learning goes, I have some travel coming up so an in-person teacher will not work right now even without considering the COVID implications. I tried some online and app courses such as Skoove, Piano Marvel, Flowkey, and Pianote.

Sloove had a special for $35 for a year, a 70% savings so I figured what the heck. I use it and it's OK but not great for me. Piano Marvel and Flowkey just seemed beyond me. All three of these use the MIDI interface on the piano so their app can see exactly which key you hit and for how long.

Pianote, on the other hand, has no MIDI interface in their app. But no matter what videos I watched on YouTube, I kept coming back to theirs and decided to subscribe for a year. Their lessons are short and numerous. Most videos are between 7 minutes and 15 minutes but pack in a lot of "how to" and "why" information. They have a good online forum system and the encouragement I've read from other students is great. Yesterday they had an "online Christmas Party" and they have been doing "winter recitals" where students can watch other students of varying skill levels play. Pianote is by far my favorite.

One thing on piano pricing. Many manufacturers have a "Minimum Advertised Pricing" clause in their contracts. That means every dealer must only advertise the MAP as their lowest price but can sell for less in their stores. That's why so many web sites list the same price. Better deals are available.

I've never been in the UK but I've watched a LOT of videos done by Bonners Music. If I were in the UK I'd definitely check them out because their reviews seem honest rather than sales-focused. Their YouTube channel is here: https://www.youtube.com/c/bonnersmusic/videos

Merriam Music in Canada also has very high quality review videos: https://www.youtube.com/c/MerriamPianos/videos

Good luck and please report back with what you decide so that others may learn from your experience.

Ray

Last edited by NXR; 12/21/21 02:33 PM.

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You can learn a lot without a piano.


Scale fingerings for instance…lessons on you tube.

This tapping thing is very good too:

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I agree with a lot of what has been said, I started playing piano again after playing bits on a synth keyboard I had. I then decided I wanted a more piano like keyboard and bought a Roland FP30, I liked it that much I bought the stand and pedal board for it. I have now upgraded to the FP30X which uses the same stand, I am thinking about taking some lessons next year. Up to now I have looked on YouTube for learning videos but I have not enrolled on any course,the pianonote software sounds interesting. I have bought myself some up to date tuition books for scales and theory. Would you believe I have Hanon and Czerny books from when I learned has a child. My goal is to be more able to play modern music ie some pop and jazz although I do like modern classical like Ludovico Enaudi, and Yanni etc. For your first keyboard I would not spend has much, you can get a Roland or Yamaha, Kawai etc with decent key action and sounds for less than £1000 in the Uk. I wish I was down south near Bonners Music they seem very good and do good reviews and seem knowlegable.


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Many thanks for all your replies.

I want a piano that is in my main living room (lounge) and thus on constant display. It has to look like a real piano. It will form part of the rooms overall design ( Industrial, wood, brick and leather, grey and charcoal walls, white ceilings and textured rugs etc ...etc....) A keyboard on a stand won't cut the mustard. (US friends should google that!!!!)

Budget remains as <£3500

That means I might spent £3500 in the next week or so. Actually I nearly did with the Casio GP510 about 3 days ago!!.

But I am not mad! A less expensive piano is welcome....!!!!

I want quality and for it to be 'future proof' for quite a few years.

I guess the main question now is:

Yamaha CLP.........so a 745 or higher spec...

OR

Yamaha CSP 170 ( BECAUSE IT MIGHT GO SOME WAY TO HELP ME LEARN )

Casio GP510...

Kawai CA79/99...

I understand there are other makes available, but its weary trying to sort out which one. Life is too short.....

So thats it. What would you buy using the above criteria?

As far as stock is concerned, it appears I can get any CLP or CSP or Kawai CA79/99 in under a few days in the UK, so no issues there...

Rav


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There are console pianos (google those terms and you'll find plenty of models from Yamaha, Roland and Kawai) that start around $1000, so less than 1000 pounds. Those manufacturers also sell wooden stands and fixed pedals to complement their slab offerings, such as the Roland FP30(X) mentioned above.

All in all, you get a very decent-looking solution for much less than 1500 pounds, but it's your money. I would save some and spend it on a good teacher instead.

ETA: I am going through that process myself right now, by the way, having stayed too long (probably) with a weightless keyboard.

Last edited by DPPianoPhil; 12/21/21 04:56 PM.

Complete beginner, started 12/2020 with Yamaha PSR-E373. I used to play guitar some 40 years ago and recall some music theory, sheet music reading. Making steady progress with the Faber's Adult All-in-One method books and complements.

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Originally Posted by Ravanelli
Many thanks for all your replies.

Yamaha CLP.........so a 745 or higher spec...

OR

Yamaha CSP 170 ( BECAUSE IT MIGHT GO SOME WAY TO HELP ME LEARN )

Kawai CA79/99...

Rav

My brother recently bought a CLP-735. I suggested hin to test out CN39 and CLP735. Although I like Kawai's sound and action far more than Yamaha, I remained silent and let him choose the one he liked.

The outcome was surprisingly Kawai, he liked the sound and the action more than Yamaha. Unfortunately, CN39 is more expensive than CLP-735 and he got a super good deal on CLP735.

He bought the CLP-735 and I told him not to even look back because CLP735 is a great digital piano, looks really nice, and I highly doubt that he could find any better deal anywhere in Canada given the COVID situation here.

I said all of these because you can't go wrong with both Kawai and Yamaha. The models and prices are really competitive. In the end, what is going to finalize your decision is first the price and second the fact that which one you connect the most with.

Last edited by Abdol; 12/21/21 05:17 PM.

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The Casio units do not have built-in wireless connectivity if that matters to you, unlike others, such as no Bluetooth. You can add it with a device that plugs into the MIDI jacks, though. The Casio 510 felt way over-priced to me but I never got a chance to try one.

I agree that you will not go wrong with either Kawai or Yamaha however the CLP 745 seems more on par with a Kawai CA49 or CA59.

One thing that changed my mind was that several people who tried the CLP 745 said there was no comparison between the CLP 745 and the CLP 785 or CLP 795. Those seem more on par with the CA 79 or CA99 from Kawai. People who tried the CA49/CA59 said there was no comparison with the CA79/CA99.

Many people also said there was no comparison between the CLP 735 and CLP 745 in both the speaker sound, volume, and the action. I do love that Yamaha Bosendorfer sound, though.

Be certain you are comparing apples to apples (google that! smile ) And yes, we do use the phrase "cut the mustard" on this side of The Pond. We also use "cut the cheese". crazy

One of the "advantages" to being old is that our life expectancy is not near as long as the younger folk. That means I don't really care if mine goes out of date in ten years. I should still be around, God willing, but I may have arthritis in my fingers by then or any number of health issues. Depressing thought, eh? smile

Buy once, cry once.

Good luck,

Ray

Last edited by NXR; 12/21/21 06:25 PM.

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Just buy something and start taking some piano lessons and enjoy the journey smile


All these years playing and I still consider myself a novice.
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Originally Posted by DPPianoPhil
ETA: I am going through that process myself right now, by the way, having stayed too long (probably) with a weightless keyboard.

Update: I just ordered a Yamaha P515, with the stand and triple pedal (white)! smile

Last edited by DPPianoPhil; 12/21/21 09:16 PM.

Complete beginner, started 12/2020 with Yamaha PSR-E373. I used to play guitar some 40 years ago and recall some music theory, sheet music reading. Making steady progress with the Faber's Adult All-in-One method books and complements.

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Originally Posted by DPPianoPhil
Originally Posted by DPPianoPhil
ETA: I am going through that process myself right now, by the way, having stayed too long (probably) with a weightless keyboard.

Update: I just ordered a Yamaha P515, with the stand and triple pedal (white)! smile

A very nice arrangement! It might not suit the OP's "must look like a piano" requirement, but you can learn (and make) a lot of music with it. Not many frills, but a solid action and good sound generator. Don't be surprised if you decide to add some amps/speakers to it.

Practice in good health --


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Originally Posted by lilchris
. . . I have bought myself some up to date tuition books for scales and theory. Would you believe I have Hanon and Czerny books from when I learned has a child. . .

So do I.

Would you believe that there haven't been any changes to scale exercises since you were young? And Czerny is still being assigned, by living teachers! 5 fingers, 5 black keys in every octave -- there's not much new in the classical world.<g>

That's not the case for jazz, where styles change, and chords keep adding extra notes on top.


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Kawai DG30. Hair over budget, but what a beautiful thing.

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CLP 745 seems nice, especially with the binaural samples and the price tag. Go for it. The Casio stuff looks a bit like "put some random wooden keybed in and pray people will buy it" to me.

Roland LX-706/8 has a bit lighter touch as far as I know. And 10 years warranty. But it doesn't have the binaural samples, instead uses its own sound generation engine. Would be worth a try, especially if you want to learn classical stuff.

CA79/99 surely aren't bad choices either, though people have reported issues with them.

But be aware that these models don't feature a too large pool of sounds. Their primary purpose is to sound like a piano. You sound like your decision for piano is rather, well, preliminary. Not sure if those models are really best for you. Stuff like Kawai MP7SE etc. has tons of sounds and features beyond piano playing.

Last edited by Marc345; 12/22/21 03:03 AM.

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So as I suspected, I have started to look at another DP...

The Yamaha CSP 170 to be exact.

How does it compare with the YAMAHA CLP series? In terms of all round quality, which one of the CLPs is the 170 most like ?

I am impressed with the CSP 170 stream lights function. Seems a great tool for learning. The only downside I guess is that I will need a new iPad, meaning in the UK it will be about £3000 for the 170 and another £1000 for the iPad (Yeah I can probably get a bit cheaper)

(Big apple fan, and use iMac and iPhone daily)...

Also, the Casio AP710 looks good, and its pretty much half the price of a CSP 170....

Looking to buy in the next few weeks....

Rav


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