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#2305853 - 07/23/14 10:18 AM Help for Newbie
DancerJ Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/22/14
Posts: 100
I am not only completely new to buying a piano, but also to playing the piano. Long story short, I finally want to do something about my dream to learn how to play the piano. Since I am good at learning something new on my own, I want to start to learn the piano on my own for a while. To be able to do that, I need a piano. But I have absolutely no idea where to start. First I was shocked how expensive pianos are. My budget is under $5K. I have been dreaming about playing the piano for decades. Once I start, I will not stop. So I don't want to start with a piano that will last only a few years. Where and how can I get a good piano that will help me become a true pianist? And what kind of piano would that be? I am in MD if it matters.
Started my piano journey on Aug 13th, 2014.

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#2305921 - 07/23/14 12:24 PM Re: Help for Newbie [Re: DancerJ]
SoundThumb Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/28/10
Posts: 379
Loc: San Diego, CA
Welcome to piano world, Jill. Learning to play piano has less to do with your choice of piano than it does with your determination and enjoyment of practicing. You will begin by spending hundreds and eventually thousands of hours with your instrument. I like to think of it like this. I spend more time with my piano than I do with my car, yet my car cost a lot more than my piano.

Choose a piano that gives you pleasure to look at and even just to think about. One that you love the sound of and the feel of the keys when you press them. Then you will look forward to practicing and that will lead to becoming a pianist. You will surely get some good advice from people on this forum, but each of us are slightly different in terms of what exactly had the right magic to make us get up each morning with the urge to practice. Also, it may be a mistake to try to pick your ultimate instrument as a first instrument. As time goes by, you will likely find that your priorities change, your taste becomes more refined, and you will upgrade your instrument. So my advice is, don't fret too much over your first instrument. Get the first thing that inspires you. Good luck.

#2305926 - 07/23/14 12:29 PM Re: Help for Newbie [Re: SoundThumb]
DancerJ Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/22/14
Posts: 100
Great advice. Thank you!
Started my piano journey on Aug 13th, 2014.

#2305937 - 07/23/14 12:47 PM Re: Help for Newbie [Re: DancerJ]
BrianDX Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/14/14
Posts: 1688
Loc: First Town, First State
Welcome Jill smile

My wife and I went through this process almost a year ago. Along the way we have learned some interesting things.

First, although I sometimes cringe at the thought of a "first piano", it most cases it makes sense. I think the first important question would be are you leaning more toward a digital or acoustic piano?

We have owned and played on both. What we learned is that even for a "starter piano" an acoustic type is preferable if the ergonomics in your house allow it.

At the beginning, we ended up paying about $2500 for a new Kawai digital piano. Knowing what I know now, it would have been better to have spent the same money on a nice, used acoustic upright from a well known brand.

The interesting thing is, a really good acoustic instrument maintained properly can last a lot longer (and still be relevant to your improving skills) than just a few years.

Just to be clear: I am NOT recommending you spend a fortune on a grand piano that you will never outgrow. However, there are ways to get even your first piano purchase to be a good investment in your playing adventures, one that both sounds great and looks beautiful.

Best of luck! smile
2013 Yamaha C2X | 2001 Yamaha M500-F .....
"Oh, that's the sanity clause": Groucho Marx
Curriculum: Faber PA Level 3B; Faber DA Book 2
Current: On Wings Of Song (Mendelssohn) (AR); Canon In D (Pachelbel) (AR)

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#2305940 - 07/23/14 12:50 PM Re: Help for Newbie [Re: DancerJ]
michaelha Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/05/13
Posts: 1293
You may be able to get a not too old (under 15 yrs) smaller baby-grand from Yamaha or Kawai. Probably something in the 5'0 - 5'6" range. Something like a Kawai GM or GE series. There are also Chinese made pianos but it seems like pre-2009 they were pretty bad so probably not much in the used market. New, you could get an upright. For an upright, you could almost get a new 48" Yamaha/Kawai.

There are some American uprights like Charles Walter or Czech ones like Petrof that you might be able to get used for that price. But the top-shelf American & European uprights, even used, will be tough to find at $5K in good condition.

#2305945 - 07/23/14 12:59 PM Re: Help for Newbie [Re: michaelha]
BrianDX Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/14/14
Posts: 1688
Loc: First Town, First State
One other thing I'll add. There are a couple of dealers in the Baltimore / D.C. area (one that posts regularly here) that have several used acoustic upright pianos in the $3K to $4K range that I personally would love to call my own.

And if you can push your budget to around $5K, I have priced some good quality uprights from Yamaha, Kawai, and Essex that are brand new and should be a pleasure to own.

One other bit of advice; If you go acoustic, try to never buy a piano that either you have not personally seen and played. Even if you can barely play anything, some someone at the dealer play it for you. Best case scenario; Have a choice of several pianos in your price range at the dealers showroom. Examine and listen to each of them, see which one sounds the best to you.

2013 Yamaha C2X | 2001 Yamaha M500-F .....
"Oh, that's the sanity clause": Groucho Marx
Curriculum: Faber PA Level 3B; Faber DA Book 2
Current: On Wings Of Song (Mendelssohn) (AR); Canon In D (Pachelbel) (AR)

#2305949 - 07/23/14 01:04 PM Re: Help for Newbie [Re: DancerJ]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014

Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7439
Loc: Rochester MN
Hi Jill - Welcome to Piano World!

You might start out by nosing around any piano dealerships in your area and there should be many. Check out used vertical instruments and your buck will go further than trying to shop for a grand. Well within your budget! As a newbie, it's probably best to avoid the "bargains" on Craigslist and such. Look for brand names you have heard of before.
Marty in Minnesota

It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.


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