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#2031077 - 02/11/13 11:26 AM Finding a good "starter" digital piano on craigslist?
lkplatow Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/03/02
Posts: 216
Loc: Philly burbs
I am posting this for a friend whose child has just started taking piano lessons. For various reasons (mainly space and climate control issues) my friend has determined that a digital piano will meet her needs better than an acoustic. I am an experienced pianist, but always with acoustic -- I have never (until yesterday) played a digital piano. So while I am trying to help her with her search, I am feeling a little over my head.

Her budget is very limited (looking to spend under $500). I told her at the very least that she needs a full 88 key keyboard and a sustain pedal, and a touch and feel that is as close to the action of an acoustic so that her daughter develops the right "touch" as she learns. I've been assuming, perhaps improperly, that we need "weighted keys" in order to get that acoustic-piano touch, but I am not actually sure what weighted keys really means exactly.

We've been looking on craigslist and yesterday took a drive to see an older Korg with weighted keys that looked promising from the ad and from the online info I found. But when I played the piano, there was a very mechanical "clunking" feeling and sound to the keyboard - when I played quietly, the clunking sound of the keys being pressed was louder than the music. I found it to be horribly distracting and ruled the piano out because of it.

The clunking was present through the whole keyboard, so I don't think it was just from wear or a few broken keys. The seller tried to tell us that that was just what digitals felt like, but I have a hard time believing that to be the case. My friend's child is currently using a cheap tiny yamaha (almost a toy) keyboard to practice on and that thing has a better touch and feel than the Korg from yesterday.

So I guess I am asking for confirmation that the seller was not telling me the truth - that all digital pianos don't "clunk" and click when you press the keys. Or is that true? maybe that is a side effect of the "weighted keys"?

And then, if you could, possibly for some guidance as far as specific brands and models that we could look for online that would fall within her budget and be a good basic piano that would allow a student who is just learning to develop the right touch and feel. I've been trying to read through the posts here but this is a totally unfamiliar landscape for me and after a while all the models and manufacturers just start blending together. Plus a lot of the posts don't have any price info so I have no idea if they are remotely close to the budget or not. We're not wed to the craigslist idea (I am aware that shopping craigslist for anything is basically wading through moutains of crap to find that one nugget of gold), but we both figured she could get more for her limited budget by going used instead of new.

Sorry to ask such basic newbie questions, but she is looking to me to help her make a good decision and I am feeling really lost. Thanks for any help you can offer!

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#2031090 - 02/11/13 11:43 AM Re: Finding a good "starter" digital piano on craigslist? [Re: lkplatow]
toddy Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/30/11
Posts: 1690
Loc: Portugal
Digital pianos do usually make rather a thudding noise which you can notice at low volumes, yes.

Rolands make quite a thud but Yamahas and Kawai are generally quieter. However, if you've ever played an acoustic with the mechanism moved away from the strings, you'll probably have heard ordinary acoustic pianos making just as much - if not more - noise. But it is normally masked by the high level of volume from the piano notes themselves, even playing pianissimo. (It certainly does not bother me at all and I have a noiser Roland, but it can bother others in the same room when the piano is being played with phones).

For the budget you mentioned, I-d consider a Casio CDP or PX piano. I would definitely recommend hammer action keyboard, not a spring action keyboard.
_________________________
Roland HP 302, Yamaha SY85

Reaper / NI Komplete 9 /Kontakt 5// EWQL Sym Choirs/ Sym Orchestra Silver/ MOR2
Mics: SP B1 & MXL V67g/ Alesis MicTube Preamp/ Xenyx302/ Yamaha HS7s .

"Only a fool is fooled" pv88, All Fools' Day 2014.

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#2031120 - 02/11/13 12:32 PM Re: Finding a good "starter" digital piano on craigslist? [Re: lkplatow]
D7K Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/25/12
Posts: 58
If you look online you can get can get a yamaha p95 for about $450 shipped. Here is a link (I bought from this place and was satisfied - no affiliation): Yamaha p95
_________________________
Jeff
Yamaha p105

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#2031127 - 02/11/13 12:49 PM Re: Finding a good "starter" digital piano on craigslist? [Re: lkplatow]
xorbe Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/31/12
Posts: 572
Loc: Mt View, CA
Some around here have indicated that the high end Kawai DP action is pretty quiet ... but I don't that comes under $500, heh.

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#2031130 - 02/11/13 12:53 PM Re: Finding a good "starter" digital piano on craigslist? [Re: lkplatow]
PianoWorksATL Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/19/09
Posts: 2711
Loc: Atlanta, GA
Or if you want a brand new DP, not a re-certified P95, you can get the P35 which has many of the same key specs for the same price. We actually ran an in-store special recently that was cheaper than the internet price.

Otherwise, if you are looking for used, you should probably stay with popular models from the last 4 years unless you are willing to do a lot of research to uncover a bargain. Yamaha P85, P95. Casio PX-120/130 & 320/330. A used Korg SP250 would also be worth a look.

As toddy said, the better mechanisms tend to make more noise than unweighted actions. It's rarely an issue when the piano is played at volumes equivalent to an acoustic.
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#2031141 - 02/11/13 01:08 PM Re: Finding a good "starter" digital piano on craigslist? [Re: lkplatow]
Sand Tiger Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/25/12
Posts: 1059
Loc: Southern California
Go to one of the big chains, such as Sam Ash or Guitar Center or similar and try some other new units and see what you think. That will give a better basis for comparisons.

I checked Craigslist in the Los Angeles area every week for several months before buying a demo unit Casio PX-150 from Ebay. I found virtually nothing worth pursuing on Craigslist. While the Ebay route is not for everyone, I have had good luck buying refurbished or used electronics online. My TV, my laptop, and now my digital piano are all used or refurbished units bought online.

There are also frequent sales and coupons from many of the big online merchants. A person usually has to call to get the coupon applied, they often won't work with online checkout. Again, online may not be for everyone.

With discounts or refurbs or demo units, there are the Casio PX-150 (and older models), the new Yamaha P35, and the P105 (and older models) that might fit into a $500 budget. A person might have to go to $600 to get a stand, a bench, headphones, perhaps a better pedal.

It quickly becomes a lot more money if a person is paying a professional piano teacher. When the entire budget picture is looked at, the price of the instrument is just a starter.
_________________________
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#2031167 - 02/11/13 01:59 PM Re: Finding a good "starter" digital piano on craigslist? [Re: PianoWorksATL]
sretsbor Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/08/12
Posts: 22
@PianoWorksATL Perfect advice as to what used models to look at and also a good suggestion for a new model.

I have been doing the Craigslist thing for the last month or so hoping to find a good deal. They are out there but you have to be patient and when they come up you have to be prepared to jump on them immediately. The variable with CL tho is the condition of the equipment (exposure to smoke, sticking keys, internal problems, etc.) that may not be readily apparent in the little time that you are checking it out. As a result, I'm leaning towards getting new w/warranty and a good return policy.

Rob


Edited by sretsbor (02/11/13 02:04 PM)
_________________________
Yamaha P95

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#2031352 - 02/11/13 05:03 PM Re: Finding a good "starter" digital piano on craigslist? [Re: lkplatow]
Charles Cohen Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/26/12
Posts: 1334
Loc: Richmond, BC, Canada
Quote:

Otherwise, if you are looking for used, you should probably stay with popular models from the last 4 years unless you are willing to do a lot of research to uncover a bargain. Yamaha P85, P95. Casio PX-120/130 & 320/330. A used Korg SP250 would also be worth a look.

Quote:

With discounts or refurbs or demo units, there are the Casio PX-150 (and older models), the new Yamaha P35, and the P105 (and older models) that might fit into a $500 budget. A person might have to go to $600 to get a stand, a bench, headphones, perhaps a better pedal.


That's as good a summary as you'll get. A visit to a music store will let you try most of them.

. Charles

PS -- to declare bias, I bought a Casio PX-350.

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#2031417 - 02/11/13 06:29 PM Re: Finding a good "starter" digital piano on craigslist? [Re: Charles Cohen]
Possum SP280Krome Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/23/10
Posts: 624
Hello, I see you are in the philly burbs (I am in SJ).
I would recommend going to Guitar Center or Sam Ash and GC often has 15% coupons.

If you are going to buy used, see how much of the warranty is left. When I sold my P95; I gave the buyers the receipt; proof of warranty etc.. it was for their 3 young children.

The thing of craigslist is I only sold things to people in public; I do not have strangers in my home.

In my opinion, unless you are getting one of the $500-$600 units for $250 you are better off getting something new
_________________________
Roland Juno Gi
Casio PX-130
Korg Krome 61
Korg SP280

Rokit KRK 6 monitors
MXL V67G microphone

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#2031696 - 02/12/13 07:49 AM Re: Finding a good "starter" digital piano on craigslist? [Re: Possum SP280Krome]
lkplatow Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/03/02
Posts: 216
Loc: Philly burbs
Thanks for all the help guys! I really appreciate the specific model numbers - that's going to make it easier to narrow things down. I'm going to forward this thread to her and we will mull over the options. Seems like there's a trip to a music store in our future!

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