Okay, so I’ve been playing guitar for about two or three years now, and I really want to learn to play keyboard. When I started learning to play guitar, I used a very cheap guitar that eventually broke forcing me to buy a minor upgrade which I later replaced with what I now use and fully appreciate, so I do not want to buy a piece of junk keyboard that I’ll only replace as I progress; I want something that will last me for a long time. I listen to a lot of progressive rock/metal that makes heavy use of keyboard, while I also very much enjoy classical music. I would like a keyboard that, on the one hand, offers me the features and sounds to be able to play a lot of progressive stuff while, on the other, the feel and amount of keys to be able to play classical stuff.

A friend of mine who was in a metal band recommended to me the Juno-D. At this time, I didn’t plan on spending more than 700 dollars. While the Juno-D seems good, it does not offer the balance I’m looking for: it only has 61 non-weighted keys. This keyboard might be good for just playing progressive stuff, but will probably become an annoyance if I try to play any classical songs that go up or down to high or low octaves.

I went to Guitar Center and looked around and tried out the Yamaha YPG-635. This keyboard has 88 weighted keys and different instrument sounds, but no buttons as far as I can tell that would allow me to store and later select different instruments (which would be important for playing a song that employs different sounds in the same song). In other words, this keyboard offers me all of these different instruments, but since it is highly impractical for me to make use of these instruments in a single song, they are basically useless to me. So, this keyboard does not seem to offer me anymore balance than the Juno-D does.

In other words, it seems what I need is the features of the Juno-D with the keys of the Yamaha YPG-635. However, I looked around on the web and the cheapest 88 key synth I could find was the Yamaha MM8. This keyboard is 1000 dollars and is above what I originally planned to pay, but I’m willing to spend the extra money if it will give me what I want and last me for a while. While I was excited about this keyboard at first, much of the reviews I read disappointed me. There seems to be a lot of issues with the Yamaha MM8 and it seems like I would just be paying the extra 500 or so dollars (above the MM6) just for the 88 keys.

The next best thing I could find was the Kawai MP5. This is way over my original price range at about 1,200 dollars, and while it is more of a stage piano than synth, it seems to offer most of what I want (as far as I can tell). However, I’m just not sure if I’m willing to spend that much money. So, I’m very confused.

What do you think I should do? Should I just settle for the Juno-D and learn to deal with the problems I’ll run into when trying to play classical music? Or should I get the Yamaha YPG-635 and just aim to play mostly classical music? Should I get the Yamaha MM8, which will offer me more of the balance I was looking for, though it might disappoint me on the synth level in comparison with the Juno-D? Or should I spend an amount of money that is far above my original limit on the Kawai MP5, which seems to be of a much better quality than the Yamaha MM8? I cannot decide! Is there another option?

Again, I want to make sure that I don't buy something that I will want to replace a year or two later like I did with my first two guitars, while at the same time I'm not spending a ridiculous amount of money.

Please take the time to read this whole post, because I want to be very careful in making my decision and I really need advice.