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#1717973 - 07/21/11 12:37 PM Nice keyboard or cheap piano?
Everly Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 07/21/11
Posts: 3
Hello all - first time poster. I'm looking for advice on whether to buy a good keyboard versus a cheap piano. I'm an adult, never played, and I would use this to learn on and for home recording (I play guitar and bass.) I'm on a tight budget - I'd like to keep it around $400. I've found some very nice Used keyboards near me with the fully weighted 88 keys, 3 level sensitivity, etc. for 300-400. I don't see a reason to spend more given my history of not keeping up with learning instruments. If I really get into playing I can trade up.

Could I find an upright(console?) in the $400 range on Craig's List that's a decent player? I don't care about name brand or comsmetics, just something that plays fine and doesn't need more than a tuning. Storage is not an issue since i have a house. Craigslist has a ton of pianos near me since I'm in a city. I am aware of the CL scams and I would bring along someone knowledgeable about pianos when testing any out.

Thanks,
E

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#1717974 - 07/21/11 12:39 PM Re: Nice keyboard or cheap piano? [Re: Everly]
hawgdriver Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/13/09
Posts: 637
Loc: Denver, CO
I'd go with a keyboard in the $400 range. I don't think you'll be as satisfied with a $400 upright.
_________________________
Only in men's imagination does every truth find an effective and undeniable existence. Imagination, not invention, is the supreme master of art as of life. -Józef Teodor Konrad Korzeniowski

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#1717998 - 07/21/11 01:00 PM Re: Nice keyboard or cheap piano? [Re: Everly]
Everly Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 07/21/11
Posts: 3
There about 100 uprights near me at $500 or less on Craig's List, in various states of disrepair. Surely there is one gem in there!

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#1718005 - 07/21/11 01:09 PM Re: Nice keyboard or cheap piano? [Re: Everly]
BenPiano Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/09
Posts: 1171
Loc: US
I'd go with the digital as well, namely because that is what I got first. It wasn't long before I broke down and purchased an upright, but I still practice on my digital every night with headphones on.

Since you're on a tight budget, don't forget that most recommend getting acoustic pianos tuned twice a year. After 2 years you'll have spent as much on tuning as you did on your piano.

Digital pianos don't need to be tuned. smile
_________________________
Learning to play since June 2009.
My piano diary on You Tube: http://www.youtube.com/user/afpaSTU1096
<- 10+ ABF recitals

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#1718037 - 07/21/11 02:01 PM Re: Nice keyboard or cheap piano? [Re: Everly]
hawgdriver Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/13/09
Posts: 637
Loc: Denver, CO
tuning costs near 100, and for cheap uprights is a must (perhaps every 6 months). However, I imagine the depreciation of the upright will be minimal compared to the keyboard. If you want to go through the trouble of vetting 100 uprights, and then the hassle and expense of moving it, you might find a nice instrument. It just seems too much personal trouble, embedded expense, and so on...
_________________________
Only in men's imagination does every truth find an effective and undeniable existence. Imagination, not invention, is the supreme master of art as of life. -Józef Teodor Konrad Korzeniowski

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#1718049 - 07/21/11 02:13 PM Re: Nice keyboard or cheap piano? [Re: Everly]
Mr Super-Hunky Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/17/05
Posts: 4217
Loc: Arizona.
A good but cheap piano can always be resold for what you paid, possibly even more if you fix it up a bit.

A $400 digital will never be worth $400 again. Ever!

Of course, "all things considered" can make a big difference like moving a full size piano. Tuning it, keeping up on maintenence etc.

There really is no right or wrong answer at this level. What's more important is what is compatible for you and your situation. If you are a tinkerer and have the ability to move a full size piano on the cheap then you can learn a lot on the inexpensive upright and then sell it down the road.
If you're a more turnkey type of person and don't want to bothered with moving, tuning etc just yet, then get the best digital you can (weighted keys) and don't worry about trying to recoop the cost of it.

Only you know what type of person you really are.

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#1718100 - 07/21/11 03:10 PM Re: Nice keyboard or cheap piano? [Re: Everly]
Chris G Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/15/09
Posts: 737
Loc: Portland, Oregon
You said that you were going to use it for home recording and for that reason I would recommend you go digital. A digital piano is far easier to record than an acoustic, and a recording of a $400 acoustic piano is probably not going to sound nearly as good as a recording of a $400 digital.

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#1718142 - 07/21/11 04:06 PM Re: Nice keyboard or cheap piano? [Re: Everly]
Open_Tuna Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 07/21/11
Posts: 17
I am facing this decision myself, right now.

If you have never played before, then that means you are going to have to practice.

Which one will be more conducive to rehearsing?

On one hand, the digital one you can play (repetition and mistakes) without bothering anyone. However, personally, the thought of playing a real piano makes me excited.

Considering the latter, check out some piano stores in your area. In my area, some have used pianos, some are online and some have prices listed.

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#1718149 - 07/21/11 04:14 PM Re: Nice keyboard or cheap piano? [Re: Everly]
MacMacMac Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/24/09
Posts: 3763
Loc: North Carolina
Those $400 pianos on Craig's List are often junk, but not always.
"Needs tuning" ... means ... "hasn't been tuned in 20 years."
"Just a few years old" ... means ... "it was built at the time of World War I."
So be careful.

There are some gems out there, but only a piano technician can tell you if a piano is worth having, or not.

As for depreciation ... $400 is next to nothing, so who cares about depreciation?

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#1718162 - 07/21/11 04:26 PM Re: Nice keyboard or cheap piano? [Re: Everly]
knotty Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/01/07
Posts: 2991
Loc: Bethesda, MD (Washington D.C)
who's moving the piano?

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#1718208 - 07/21/11 05:28 PM Re: Nice keyboard or cheap piano? [Re: Everly]
Everly Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 07/21/11
Posts: 3
I'm not factoring moving or initial setup into the $400, just the piano cost. Let's call it $600 all in.

Thanks for the feedback everyone. I will probably check out a few uprights around town but it sounds like a good weighted keyboard is the way to go for my price range and recording needs.

- E

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#1718263 - 07/21/11 06:59 PM Re: Nice keyboard or cheap piano? [Re: Everly]
knotty Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/01/07
Posts: 2991
Loc: Bethesda, MD (Washington D.C)
It's hard to find a decent keyboard at $300 like your initial post. $600 gets a little closer on a used keyboard. Digital keyboards break.

A $400 is likely to cost you a lot more, unless you know to fix it yourself. How will you tell if it's a gem?
$200 is minimum for a move.
Add $100 for an inspection
And then $100 for tuning.

This is a better use of your money:
http://cgi.ebay.com/Yamaha-DGX-640-Porta...=item33697edc80

++

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#1718309 - 07/21/11 08:39 PM Re: Nice keyboard or cheap piano? [Re: Everly]
GracieCat Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/01/09
Posts: 340
Loc: USA
I paid $450 for my first piano and that included delivery. It still plays just fine and holds its tune. I tune it every spring. (It's pictured in my avator. It was built in 1956)

I just bought a new studio upright and I'm loving it. The action is stiffer and I like the sound better, but the old $425 piano still gets played and does just fine. I actually have it listed for sale on Craigslist for $500. That way I can come down on my price and still get what I paid for it.

I bought the old piano because I didn't even know if I'd like playing the piano. I chose that particular one because it was in tune when I went and saw it. The man played it for me and it sounded decent. I had looked at other old pianos and none of them were in tune and I wasn't going to buy something that "in the end" wouldn't hold it's tune after I had it tuned.

I also have a nice $1,000 Kawaii digital. I enjoy playing it at night when the kids are in bed, but otherwise I hardly touch it. I prefer an real piano over a digital one. I really liked the digital for the first month or two, but the newness wore off...

Honestly, I'm glad I started with an inexpensive piano. I would be hating life if I had spend thousands on something that I ended up not sticking with. It's not like it's a flute that you can shove in the back of your closet. LOL
_________________________
Started piano Dec 2009
----------------------
Working on:
-Anything composed by D. Nevue

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#1718337 - 07/21/11 09:25 PM Re: Nice keyboard or cheap piano? [Re: Everly]
bluekeys Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/07
Posts: 1337
In that price range I too have to vote digital. Between moving and tuning you'll more than eat up the greater depreciation on a digital. I think the $600 range gets you some of the weighted key Casios new or a maybe a second hand Yamaha. I even played a $700 Korg at Guitar Center today that you might be able to swing on one of their sale days.

Whatever you end up with, your effort will matter much more than your initial hardware.

Good luck!

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#1720767 - 07/25/11 05:38 PM Re: Nice keyboard or cheap piano? [Re: Everly]
LAX Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/25/11
Posts: 15
With your tight budget I think you better off with digital.

Even you can find a decent used acoustic piano for $400, you still have to consider the expenses for moving and tuning plus the maintenance ahead.

If you decided to go with acoustic, make sure to bring a technician (another expense) with you to do the inspection. Having someone who can play doesn't mean that he knows whether the piano can hold up with its tune or not.

If you end up picking the digital, you still need to check it out yourself thoroughly. If you can find the manaul online, study it before the inspection.


Edited by LAX (07/25/11 05:40 PM)

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#1720770 - 07/25/11 05:45 PM Re: Nice keyboard or cheap piano? [Re: Everly]
kevinb Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/18/09
Posts: 1565
I paid £300 for my acoustic piano, and it's a gem. But I had been looking for a decent deal for quite a few years. I found mine through contacts at my kids' school. To get a good acoustic piano that will hold tune and be reliable, I imagine you've got to shop around and be prepared to wait, or get very lucky.

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#1721200 - 07/26/11 11:42 AM Re: Nice keyboard or cheap piano? [Re: Everly]
wouter79 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/14/10
Posts: 3433
My vote is also for an acoustic. With a digital I guess you'll be out as quick as you expect
_________________________

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#1721242 - 07/26/11 01:09 PM Re: Nice keyboard or cheap piano? [Re: Everly]
progrmr Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/29/10
Posts: 42
Loc: Columbus OH USA
I got my piano from Craigslist - $350 delivered and tuned. It's not going to win any prizes for beauty but it's functionally sound and will be fine for years to come.

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#1721618 - 07/27/11 02:04 AM Re: Nice keyboard or cheap piano? [Re: progrmr]
Guinnie Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/08/09
Posts: 18
When I decided to start playing again, I knew I didn't have either the space or money for an acoustic piano. I found a Casio Privia PX 720 for a great price and I think the sound is great. Another plus is the ability to use headphones so you don't disturb others...and I can practice at night.

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#1721652 - 07/27/11 06:00 AM Re: Nice keyboard or cheap piano? [Re: Everly]
Jaak Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/30/11
Posts: 224
Loc: Tallinn, Estonia
Hi Everly,

Some thoughts that quickly came into my mind...

1) If you want to record the cheap piano will not be good enough.
2) The sound of real instrument is much more natural and you will feel a better connection while expressing yourself.
3) Cheap instruments often do not stay tuned, especially when they are old.
4) The real instrument has the real touch of the keys. If your goal is to learn the piano, keyboard is like a different instrument.
5)With the keyboard you can always use headphones and so there is no practicing time limits.
6) For the beginning and learning the theory and aqcuiring the basic skills, the keyboard is enough.
7) Keyboard offers you a variety of different sound samples and possibility to use midi devices.


Hope I could help.
GL

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