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#1315845 - 12/01/09 12:08 PM Digital Piano Suggestions For Young Children
DOFNM Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/01/09
Posts: 2
I know there are many related threads on this topic, but I can't find one that really answers my questions for my specific situation. So I appreciate you humoring me with another "what should I buy" thread.

I have three children (ages 4,6,7). The seven year old is in her third year of an excellent group keyboarding program; the six year old is in his first. The assumption is that the four year will start next year. We originally purchased an inexpensive keyboard, but need to upgrade for the seven year old. The instructor has warned us against spending too much money (wary of the dealers) and is primarily concerned about getting: full keyboard size; weighted keys with touch sensitivity; and pedals.

I originally was interested in purchasing either the Yamaha CLP-320 or CLP-330. However I live in a small town in the US and we only have one dealer. They are not "budging" from $1,800 for the CLP-320; and $2,500 for the CLP-330. This made me go back to considering a model that I could actually price-shop (and have other options).

I have two questions:

1. Should I buy "more than I need" in our circumstances (a better quality model for the future); or does it make more sense considering the young ages to get a lesser model in case: (a) the children lose interest or switch to different instruments; (b) we decide that an acoustic is a better route in the future?

2. Considering my local dealer isn't offering great prices; should I purchase one of the Yamaha, Casio, etc. models that I can buy online? And if so, considering my kids' ages and requirements...what would you recommend?

I don't play; and my 7 year old is too young to really have an opinion on the sound, feel of the keyboard, etc.

I appreciate any assistance you all can offer.

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#1315910 - 12/01/09 01:38 PM Re: Digital Piano Suggestions For Young Children [Re: DOFNM]
Gyro Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/24/05
Posts: 4533
One option is to simply stick
with the current 61-key
portable. It is not uncommon
for students to take several
yrs. of classical lessons using
one. The students have little
trouble adapting to the
acoustic piano in the teacher's
studio, even if it's a big
grand.

An acoustic piano would be nice,
but consider the disadvantages
of one: it weighs a ton, and
you'll need movers just to
get it into, or out of, your
house; the dropout rate in
piano is high as kids get into
jr. high and high school, and
other activities get their
attention, and so you could have
a heavy, unusable piece of
furniture in your house; it
will need to be tuned twice a
yr., at ~$90-$150 per tuning;
repairs for sticking keys and
buzzing strings are common, at
~$100 per service call; it can
be heard a block away, which
is loud enough to drive the
neighbors, the people in the
house, and even the student
himself nuts, if he's practicing
several hrs. a day.

The 320 and 330 seem to be selling
for around $1500 and $2300,
respectively, in some places,
and so you'd apparently
be paying a premium
for them. These are fine
instruments, but you can get
good digital pianos for less
than $1000, for example, the
Casio PX 800 and the M-Audio
DCP 200, both around $900 from
amazon.com.

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#1315936 - 12/01/09 01:57 PM Re: Digital Piano Suggestions For Young Children [Re: DOFNM]
ChrisA Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/28/08
Posts: 3841
Loc: Redondo Beach, California
You can buy a Yamaha that has the same key mechanism and internal sounds as the CLP320 for less then the price of a CLP320.

The YDP160 is very much like the CLP and retails for about $1,300 but you can always get 10% off.

As you plan ahead, do not plan to far ahead. DPs are like computers, they keep getting better and cheaper. You buy them with the idea that in a few years they will be replaced. Figure on getting another one in five years.

The thing to look for when shopping is not the sound so much as the quality of the key action. Yamaha uses only a few different actions in all the pianos they make. So any two Yamahas that happen to have (say) "GHE" keys will play about the same. This goes for other brands too. Each brand only has maybe three different key actions and then they put them in different cases.

Look at Casio too. You may like it's key action and prices start at $299 (for the CDP100). You have many options available. BTW the CDP is quite good for the money. I'd say you gt an 85% solution for 30% of the price.

With several kids you may be best off owning several pianos. Buy an inexpensive one now and a better one next year. Lots of reasonable plans As the kids get older they can practice on their own using headphones. As they become teenagers if they have not given up on music they may want portable instruments and you'd be happy to have that 10 year old CDP in the closet that they can take to the buddy's garage.

The good news is that it's hard to go really wrong. there is nothing truly bad on the market.


Edited by ChrisA (12/01/09 02:16 PM)

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#1315940 - 12/01/09 02:02 PM Re: Digital Piano Suggestions For Young Children [Re: DOFNM]
Huygens Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/10/09
Posts: 217
Loc: Sweden
You have so many kids, you could buy more than one DP.

Good keyboards, good sound and many functions:
  • Roland HP203 (or Roland HP204) A nice all-round DP. Supreme keyboard.
  • Casio AP-620 Many voices/instruments. Excellent.
  • Yamaha CLP-330 (or CLP-340 if cheap) good keyboard and sound.

Weaker speakers, but good keyboards, buy 3 of them:
  • Casio PX-830 (or the cheaper Casio PX-730) Looots of DP for the money.
  • Korg LP350 (or the equivalent SP250 without a stand) Has a must-try-out keyboard.
  • Yamaha P-155 Quite good keyboard, even if only Graded Hammers. Better than the CLP-320 (which is old). You need to buy a 3-pedals separately.

Very cheap, weaker speakers, light keyboard, but priceless. Will make the master. You could afford to buy 4 or 5 of them:
  • Casio CDP-200R (or the cheaper Casio CDP-100) Graded Hammers on the light side. Lots of synth sounds.
  • Yamaha P-85 This one you can carry around. Nice, but few sounds.

I would like to hear someone recommend one or two Kurzweil, as I know too little about them. Other brands as well (Kawai too expensive?).
_________________________
P-85 cheap plastic imitation; not because of sound, but weight.

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#1315945 - 12/01/09 02:06 PM Re: Digital Piano Suggestions For Young Children [Re: Huygens]
Huygens Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/10/09
Posts: 217
Loc: Sweden
Regarding graded Hammers on Roland and Yamaha, see this link.

When Casio states "Tri-sensors", it is probably equivalent to Yamaha GH3.
_________________________
P-85 cheap plastic imitation; not because of sound, but weight.

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#1315947 - 12/01/09 02:07 PM Re: Digital Piano Suggestions For Young Children [Re: Huygens]
Marty Flinn Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/25/06
Posts: 2604
Children are rarely self motivated for years of piano study. The decision and committment is yours.
Ear training and touch training begins with lesson #1, not five years into the process. At age 7 with three years of "keyboarding" under her belt, your daughter needs real piano lessons on a piano; either an acoustic or a decent digital piano. The prices you have shown on the CLP330 and 320 are in fact discounted. You might do a little better, but not much more. Buy the best you can comfortably afford.
_________________________
Co-Author of The Complete Idiot's Guide To Buying A Piano. A "must read" before you shop.
Work for west coast dealer for Yamaha, Schimmel, Bosendorfer, Wm. Knabe.

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#1315959 - 12/01/09 02:19 PM Re: Digital Piano Suggestions For Young Children [Re: Gyro]
Huygens Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/10/09
Posts: 217
Loc: Sweden
Originally Posted By: Gyro
... you can get
good digital pianos for less
than $1000, for example, the
Casio PX 800 and the M-Audio
DCP 200, both around $900 from
amazon.com.


I looked up M-Audio and I find the M-Audio DCP-300 even more interesting as it has twice (16) the amount of instruments compared to the M-Audio DCP-200, and the price difference between them is small, on the M-Audio website. Is the DCP-300 keyboard without Escapement?

What would you compare the DCP-200 keyboard action to in terms of Yamaha equivalents?
_________________________
P-85 cheap plastic imitation; not because of sound, but weight.

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#1316016 - 12/01/09 03:34 PM Re: Digital Piano Suggestions For Young Children [Re: Huygens]
Marty Flinn Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/25/06
Posts: 2604
There is no $1000 and under keyboard on the market that compares to the action of the Clavinova.
In decending order:
Clavinovas w/Natural wood synthetic ivory
Clavinovas w/Natural wood
Clavinovas w/GH3 synthetic ivory
Clavinovas w/GH3
Clavinovas w/GH
YDP series w/GHE
YDP series w/GHS
P series
DGX series
PSR series
Other

The differences are subtle, but there.
_________________________
Co-Author of The Complete Idiot's Guide To Buying A Piano. A "must read" before you shop.
Work for west coast dealer for Yamaha, Schimmel, Bosendorfer, Wm. Knabe.

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#1316053 - 12/01/09 04:16 PM Re: Digital Piano Suggestions For Young Children [Re: Marty Flinn]
Huygens Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/10/09
Posts: 217
Loc: Sweden
Originally Posted By: Marty Flinn
There is no $1000 and under keyboard on the market that compares to the action of the Clavinova.
In decending order:
Clavinovas w/Natural wood synthetic ivory
Clavinovas w/Natural wood
Clavinovas w/GH3 synthetic ivory
Clavinovas w/GH3
Clavinovas w/GH
YDP series w/GHE
YDP series w/GHS
P series
DGX series
PSR series
Other

The differences are subtle, but there.


What exactly do you mean by "descending order"? Descending order of what?
_________________________
P-85 cheap plastic imitation; not because of sound, but weight.

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#1316115 - 12/01/09 05:37 PM Re: Digital Piano Suggestions For Young Children [Re: Huygens]
Marty Flinn Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/25/06
Posts: 2604
Authenticity to the touch of a good grand piano.
_________________________
Co-Author of The Complete Idiot's Guide To Buying A Piano. A "must read" before you shop.
Work for west coast dealer for Yamaha, Schimmel, Bosendorfer, Wm. Knabe.

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#1316134 - 12/01/09 06:10 PM Re: Digital Piano Suggestions For Young Children [Re: Marty Flinn]
ChrisA Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/28/08
Posts: 3841
Loc: Redondo Beach, California
Originally Posted By: Marty Flinn
Authenticity to the touch of a good grand piano.


I have to disagree. I think that all Yamaha pianos that have identical key actions have identical "Authenticity to the touch".

So rather then rank them in order you should devide them in groups with all members of the same group being equal.

For example the P140, P155, YDP160, YPD223, N100 and CLP320 all use the same "GH" (or "GHE" as they used to be called) keys. Other things differ greatly between the pianos. The P155 has the newest sound generation, the N100 has (arguably) the best speaker system and you might think one looks better are offers better portability.

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#1316225 - 12/01/09 08:28 PM Re: Digital Piano Suggestions For Young Children [Re: ChrisA]
Marty Flinn Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/25/06
Posts: 2604
Chris wrote, "I think that all Yamaha pianos that have identical key actions have identical "Authenticity to the touch". Certainly entitled to your opinion Chris, but this is not supported by any factual basis. Yamaha manufactures at least nine different actions in their digital piano products.

The Clavinova CLP320 features the GH mechanism.
The YDP140 the GHS
The YDP160 and 223 the GHE
Your grouping is not the same in the key action. There was a thread last week the focused on this as well.

The Nocturne is a decent piano, but surely you understand there are bigger and better sound systems in more upscale products. 40 wts and four speakers is not the ultimate today.
_________________________
Co-Author of The Complete Idiot's Guide To Buying A Piano. A "must read" before you shop.
Work for west coast dealer for Yamaha, Schimmel, Bosendorfer, Wm. Knabe.

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#1316297 - 12/01/09 10:07 PM Re: Digital Piano Suggestions For Young Children [Re: Marty Flinn]
MarkL Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/07
Posts: 728
Loc: Chicago Suburban
Originally Posted By: Marty Flinn

Your grouping is not the same in the key action. There was a thread last week the focused on this as well.


I agree with ChrisA. I believe this is from the thread you refer to last week posted by Huygens, in order of increasing authenticity, or at least price:

* GHS
* GHE (not manufactured anymore)
* GH (as GHE, but with a very small improvement added)
* GH3 (drops faster when the hammer is hit and returns faster to its original position when key is released)
* GH3 with fake Ivory (better plastic added)
* GH3 with fake Ivory and Wood (wood added?)
* Specialized Grand Piano Action with fake Ivory
* Grand piano action with Quick Escape mechanism (silent pianos)

Given that GH and GHE are basically the same thing, ChrisA grouped the following together: P140, P155, YDP160, YPD223, N100 and CLP320. They all have either GH or GHE, so why do they not belong together? You ranked the P series, which has the GH action, lower than the YDP series with GHS action. But that's backwards with regards to their action.
_________________________
Yamaha P90

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#1316430 - 12/02/09 01:27 AM Re: Digital Piano Suggestions For Young Children [Re: MarkL]
ChrisA Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/28/08
Posts: 3841
Loc: Redondo Beach, California
If you add Roland's pianos to this mix I thing it looks like this

+ Yamaha "graded soft touch"
* GHS
+ Roland PHA Alpha II
* GHE (not manufactured anymore)
* GH (as GHE, but with a very small improvement added)
* GH3 (drops faster when the hammer is hit and returns faster to its original position when key is released)
+ Roland PHA II
* GH3 with fake Ivory (better plastic added)
* GH3 with fake Ivory and Wood (wood added?)
+ Roland PHA II with escapement
* Specialized Grand Piano Action with fake Ivory
* Grand piano action with Quick Escape mechanism (silent pianos)

Can someone who knows Casio add to this list? And Korg and Kawai? It would be a great resource to have a list. If these is disagreement on the ranking note that too.

Then the next thing is to agree on one or two standard MIDI files and have people render them to audio on their DPs and keep these some place.

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#1316795 - 12/02/09 02:42 PM Re: Digital Piano Suggestions For Young Children [Re: ChrisA]
Marty Flinn Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/25/06
Posts: 2604
Respectfully MarkL,

The GHE action is currently found on the YDP223 and YDP160.

The GH action and the GHE are not "basically the same.

On 11-22 Alden Skinner wrote, "I just pulled the service manuals for the YDP-140 w/GHE and the CVP401 w/GH. With the exception of the grease, there are no common parts between the two keyboard assemblies. Service manuals don't lie. GH and GHE are not the same."

The Yamaha P-85 features the GHS action.

I am taking all this from a spreadsheet chart produced by Yamaha and given to me on 10-8-2009.
_________________________
Co-Author of The Complete Idiot's Guide To Buying A Piano. A "must read" before you shop.
Work for west coast dealer for Yamaha, Schimmel, Bosendorfer, Wm. Knabe.

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#1316836 - 12/02/09 03:48 PM Re: Digital Piano Suggestions For Young Children [Re: Marty Flinn]
boxijie Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/20/08
Posts: 126
Loc: Vancouver
To add more confusion:

Not all actions that are labelled the same feel the same on different keyboards. For example I played the Roland HP207 right next to the RM-700 and they felt quite different. I really liked the natural feel of the RM-700.

Similarly, the CLP 380 and the CVP 409 felt quite different too. The CLP 380 was much more "bouncy". I believe they both have the NW action.

One really has to go out and feel for themselves.

As for the OP's original question, what do the experts feel is the "minimum" or least action a child could adequately learn on?

I have much younger kids that may eventually learn and I am really leaning toward the digital route now so I would also be interested.

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#1316878 - 12/02/09 04:47 PM Re: Digital Piano Suggestions For Young Children [Re: boxijie]
Huygens Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/10/09
Posts: 217
Loc: Sweden
Originally Posted By: boxijie
As for the OP's original question, what do the experts feel is the "minimum" or least action a child could adequately learn on?


You buy a piece of paper and draw some parallel elongated rectangles side by side and show them how to move their fingers. After some time this "minimum" will of course not be "adequately" to learn on.

Otherwise I think even a balance weighted keyboard could do.

For some time.
_________________________
P-85 cheap plastic imitation; not because of sound, but weight.

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#1317028 - 12/02/09 08:45 PM Re: Digital Piano Suggestions For Young Children [Re: Huygens]
ChrisA Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/28/08
Posts: 3841
Loc: Redondo Beach, California


Originally Posted By: Huygens

You buy a piece of paper and draw some parallel elongated rectangles side by side and show them how to move their fingers.


When I was in elementary school they were still teaching music and these cardboard "pianos" where issued to every student. They worked too, up to a point.
I think the school only had one or two real pianos and 500 students.


What's the minimum to learn on? The serious answer is "any weighted keyboard from any big name brand" That would include the $299 Casio CDP100. The difference between the CDP100 and a DP that cost 10X more is not so much as we like to think. There certainly is no need to spend $1,000




Edited by ChrisA (12/02/09 08:57 PM)

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#1317132 - 12/02/09 10:52 PM Re: Digital Piano Suggestions For Young Children [Re: Huygens]
crusadar Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/30/07
Posts: 670
Loc: Middle England
-
Originally Posted By: Huygens
(Kawai too expensive?).

Not necessarily, if you can try the Kawai CN-22, it has a nice piano sound, a really nice keyboard action and is quite a slim, compact, piano, 400mm deep. Here in the UK they go for less than £1000 (~$1500).
-

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#1317905 - 12/03/09 09:35 PM Re: Digital Piano Suggestions For Young Children [Re: crusadar]
DOFNM Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/01/09
Posts: 2
Thanks to everyone for their feedback on my questions. I am very grateful for your collective insight. I am leaning towards something more in the $1,000 range or less after reading all the back/forth (instead of the Clavinova). As I indicated in my original post, I have no way to judge the relative responsiveness of the "key action" (and neither do my kids at their young age). So my decision has to be based on your opinions, feature set, and related factors. One issue I'm concerned about (considering this is a digital instrument) is reliability and build-quality. Does anyone have thoughts on that topic? I think I am down to: Yamaha YDP 140/160; M-Audio DCP-300; and the Casio AP400/500. Someone above recommended the Casio AP-620 but I don't believe that's available in the US. I can't seem to find much information on the AP400 (though it's sold at a number of places). My wife wants a more traditional console so the more modern Casios won't work. Thanks in advance for any more feedback folks have.

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#1318991 - 12/05/09 02:07 PM Re: Digital Piano Suggestions For Young Children [Re: DOFNM]
Marty Flinn Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/25/06
Posts: 2604
Yamaha products have some of the best build quality and service records in the business. They also have great parts and service dealer support.
_________________________
Co-Author of The Complete Idiot's Guide To Buying A Piano. A "must read" before you shop.
Work for west coast dealer for Yamaha, Schimmel, Bosendorfer, Wm. Knabe.

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#1318993 - 12/05/09 02:11 PM Re: Digital Piano Suggestions For Young Children [Re: Marty Flinn]
snazzyplayer Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/26/09
Posts: 983
Loc: Earth
Originally Posted By: Marty Flinn
Yamaha products have some of the best build quality and service records in the business. They also have great parts and service dealer support.


+1 Marty. thumb

Snazzy
_________________________
Semper Gumby: Always flexible \:^)

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