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#2306559 - 07/24/14 02:47 PM Digital Piano Sufficient for a Newbie?  
Joined: Jul 2014
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DancerJ Offline
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DancerJ  Offline
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I would like to play classical music. Do you still think a digital piano is sufficient for a real newbie? I would like to hear what you all think as much as possible. Thank you.

Last edited by DancerJ; 07/24/14 03:05 PM.

Started my piano journey on Aug 13th, 2014.
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#2306573 - 07/24/14 03:12 PM Re: Digital Piano Sufficient for a Newbie [Re: DancerJ]  
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ClsscLib Offline

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ClsscLib  Offline

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The unfortunate fact is that most people who start down that path don't choose to stay on it.

My question back to you is, how much money are you willing to risk against the possibility you might not stick with it?

Another question: If you believe you're likely to find you really love it, do you want to risk investing a lot in a starter instrument from which you almost certainly would want to move up later (to a better digital or an acoustic)?

There are some very good digitals, like the Yamaha AvantGrands and the Roland V-Piano (others too), but they start in the $2500 range and go up to much higher prices. Is that too much for you to risk comfortably?

On the other hand, a Casio PX-150 is closer to $500, and while it's not the top of the line by any means, it is more than enough to learn some basics without too much "instrument compromise," and yet not so expensive that you'd feel terribly constrained later in moving up to a better instrument. (You should be able to sell a digital when you're done with it, but you'll probably take some loss and have to endure some hassle from the process.)

Finally, you might want to think about some things other than the instrument: Are you willing to commit to a teacher and regular lessons? If you want to play classical piano music, you should. Finding the right teacher is even harder, more important, and more financially significant than finding the right instrument.

Good luck. Playing piano is good for the soul, but it does take a commitment -- and not just a monetary commitment!

Last edited by ClsscLib; 07/24/14 03:15 PM.

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#2306575 - 07/24/14 03:14 PM Re: Digital Piano Sufficient for a Newbie [Re: DancerJ]  
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Minnesota Marty Offline

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Minnesota Marty  Offline

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Nope


Marty in Minnesota

It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.
#2306595 - 07/24/14 03:33 PM Re: Digital Piano Sufficient for a Newbie [Re: DancerJ]  
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littlebirdblue Offline
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This thread was about a five year old boy so it isn't exactly the same situation but the discussion might still be relevant:

http://www.pianoworld.com/forum/ubb...eachers_do_not_accept_d.html#Post2292183


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#2306610 - 07/24/14 03:57 PM Re: Digital Piano Sufficient for a Newbie [Re: DancerJ]  
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phantomFive Offline
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Yes, if you get a weighted keyboard. A real piano is better, though.


Poetry is rhythm
#2306664 - 07/24/14 06:01 PM Re: Digital Piano Sufficient for a Newbie [Re: DancerJ]  
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BornInTheUSA Offline
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To me, nothing wrong with a digital either for beginners or as a secondary/backup piano. But you'll most likely want to go acoustic at some point.

#2306685 - 07/24/14 06:47 PM Re: Digital Piano Sufficient for a Newbie [Re: DancerJ]  
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theoak Offline
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How much does a tuning cost ... $200??? Now, you are diligent and tune your acoustic piano at least twice per year ... that is $400 per year. Over 5 years, you are looking at around $2K in tuning costs. Of course tuning costs vary. Of course depending on the piano it may need more or less maintenance. Of course depending on where you live and the environment, that will impact the frequencies of maintenance also.

Lets say you purchase a digital piano in the $2K to $3K range ... in 5 years ... when your "newbie" status has moved "up" a notch or two or three smile ... if at that time your skills are such that you feel you need an acoustic to advance your skills further, then get one. You have lost no money in your digital piano investment!

Of course, during the time frame, find an acoustic (upright or grand) that you can play with - a friends home or family member or church for example to round your your study.

This argument only works with commitment as previously mentioned. There are some good digital pianos in and around $1K range also. Even with a less expensive digital, the tuning and maintenance logic could still apply.

Some food for thought ...

#2306690 - 07/24/14 07:01 PM Re: Digital Piano Sufficient for a Newbie [Re: theoak]  
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biasa199 Offline
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Originally Posted by theoak
How much does a tuning cost ... $200???


A $200 tuning is pretty expensive. Most techs by me charge $75 - $100 on a tuning. The worst I've seen was $120. So about $150-$200/year on tunings (if you tune it twice).

#2306783 - 07/25/14 12:20 AM Re: Digital Piano Sufficient for a Newbie [Re: theoak]  
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BornInTheUSA Offline
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Originally Posted by theoak
How much does a tuning cost ... $200??? Now, you are diligent and tune your acoustic piano at least twice per year ... that is $400 per year. Over 5 years, you are looking at around $2K in tuning costs. Of course tuning costs vary. Of course depending on the piano it may need more or less maintenance. Of course depending on where you live and the environment, that will impact the frequencies of maintenance also.

Lets say you purchase a digital piano in the $2K to $3K range ... in 5 years ... when your "newbie" status has moved "up" a notch or two or three smile ... if at that time your skills are such that you feel you need an acoustic to advance your skills further, then get one. You have lost no money in your digital piano investment!

Of course, during the time frame, find an acoustic (upright or grand) that you can play with - a friends home or family member or church for example to round your your study.

This argument only works with commitment as previously mentioned. There are some good digital pianos in and around $1K range also. Even with a less expensive digital, the tuning and maintenance logic could still apply.

Some food for thought ...


A tank of gas costs $60. If you multiply that or the cost of toilet paper over a year you start to get into some real numbers.

Anyway, you don't buy an acoustic piano to save money. If you want to save money, don't do anything. You buy an acoustic piano (maybe a grand one day) because of the way it performs. Well, there's no law that says you have to tune it either smile

People buy digital pianos for different reasons but one is because they're just starting out and don't know if they'll continue and don't want to risk spending $2000 and end up quitting in a few months. So for me, I wouldn't buy a $2000 digital since you can fairly easily get an good used upright for that. I played my $300 Casio for almost 5 years. It was fine, obviously far from perfect, but enough to get you going. And Casio actually makes some very decent digitals for under $500 - and can easily get a used Yamaha digital in that range as well. Then after I convinced myself I'd keep playing I bought a 6'6" grand.





Last edited by michaelha; 07/25/14 12:21 AM.
#2306788 - 07/25/14 12:51 AM Re: Digital Piano Sufficient for a Newbie [Re: DancerJ]  
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imustlearn Offline
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Get a DP definitely , cheap and possibly save you money in the future in-case the piano is just a phase.


Casio PX850
#2306791 - 07/25/14 01:06 AM Re: Digital Piano Sufficient for a Newbie [Re: DancerJ]  
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WimPiano Offline
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What is your situation?


Schimmel 116 S
ABF Recitals: XXXIV - XXXVIII & Schumann Recital .....
#2306795 - 07/25/14 01:48 AM Re: Digital Piano Sufficient for a Newbie [Re: DancerJ]  
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AJF Offline
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Toronto
Yes a digital piano will suffice. As long as it has 88 keys and a good touch sensitivity you'll be fine for years.
I got to my ARCT (highest level of classical conservatory studies in Canada) on a Yamaha digital. I have a real piano now, and play music professionally and would never give up the real thing but good digitals today do the job just fine. I'd be more concerned with a top notch teacher at this point.



Pianist, Composer
Disclaimer: Shigeru Kawai Artist
#2306817 - 07/25/14 03:33 AM Re: Digital Piano Sufficient for a Newbie [Re: DancerJ]  
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maurus Offline
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What AJF says: getting a good teacher is the real issue.
Of course it is more rewarding to practice on a real piano, but there are situations where this is not an option, at least for some time. Determination, practice, and the best teacher you can find - this is what matters.


Shigeru Kawai SK-2, etc.
#2306841 - 07/25/14 06:14 AM Re: Digital Piano Sufficient for a Newbie [Re: maurus]  
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jdw Offline
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Just a thought about the "more rewarding" aspect. A big factor in whether people stick with piano is the amount of satisfaction they get for all the effort it takes. So while it's true that a cheap digital will allow learning of some basics, it might not inspire you to continue. It has to be capable of making a sound you love to hear, and give you enough control that you can tell what you're doing. If you can afford it, I would spring for a better instrument, whether digital or acoustic.


1989 Baldwin R
Currently working on:
Chopin, Waltz in E minor (op. posth.)
Schubert, Op. 90 no. 2
Mendelssohn, Op. 19 no. 2
#2306864 - 07/25/14 08:00 AM Re: Digital Piano Sufficient for a Newbie [Re: DancerJ]  
Joined: Oct 2013
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Troy 125 Offline
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Troy 125  Offline
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Rent an acoustic for a few months, take your lessons, continue reading and learning about the options, then decide what your level of investment will be.

#2306867 - 07/25/14 08:06 AM Re: Digital Piano Sufficient for a Newbie [Re: DancerJ]  
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WimPiano Offline
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The Netherlands
I agree with jdw. Troys renting suggestion is also good to consider.
I love my piano and it wasn't all that expensive (ok, I was lucky).


Schimmel 116 S
ABF Recitals: XXXIV - XXXVIII & Schumann Recital .....
#2306873 - 07/25/14 08:24 AM Re: Digital Piano Sufficient for a Newbie [Re: WimPiano]  
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PhilipInChina Offline
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Bulgaria
If you do start with a digital, and are keen, the secret is never to play an acoustic. Once you do, you will never be content with the digital again. At least I wasn't!


Currently working towards "Twinkle twinkle little star"
#2306886 - 07/25/14 08:40 AM Re: Digital Piano Sufficient for a Newbie [Re: PhilipInChina]  
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BrianDX Offline
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I think here is the way I would answer this question both from my point of view and recent history of: 1) being a newbie less than a year ago; 2) owning a "starter" digital piano; 3) Upgrading to my "final" acoustic piano (man it's been a busy year shocked ):

1) I think the idea of a rental instrument is great idea for just starting out, depending on how much a rental will cost for a decent instrument and what types of pianos are available.

2) If your space and playing environment allow for it, start off with a decent acoustic piano.

3) If the answer to number 2 is no, get a good quality digital with at the very least a good to very good action and don't worry about it.

4) After playing for a few months to a year or more, you should be in very good shape to make an informed buying decision.

As most folks here have already stated clearly, acoustic is preferable in a general way over digital. However, with hard work and hopefully good instruction, a DP should not weigh down your progress for quite a while I think...




Yamaha C2X | Yamaha M500-F
Groucho Marx: "Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others."
Curriculum: Faber PA Level 5
Current: Mazurka In G Minor (Faber) (OF)
#2307990 - 07/28/14 12:52 AM Re: Digital Piano Sufficient for a Newbie [Re: DancerJ]  
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JohnSprung Offline
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Every serious player should have both digital and acoustic. But start with the digital. You can practice with headphones and not irritate anybody. Keep it when you move up to an acoustic grand because you can practice on it any time of day or night. It also helps to go back and forth between instruments with vastly different touch responses.


Last edited by JohnSprung; 07/28/14 12:53 AM.

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#2308256 - 07/28/14 05:45 PM Re: Digital Piano Sufficient for a Newbie [Re: DancerJ]  
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Joe Garfield Offline
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My personal experience: in the past 8 months I think I've owned 6 digital pianos and played every one within 100 miles. I finally ended up with a Kawai MP10, and stopped looking and started playing. This is after taking some lessons and theory class, both involving acoustic instruments. I am however ready for an acoustic, but not in a craze trying to find one so I can move on with lessons - the MP10 is holding me over just fine. Note that it has 'real' wood piano keys and is arguably the closest sensation to playing an acoustic there is (behinds it's new brother MP11).

Digitals will never give you the same satisfaction as an acoustic. However for getting started, they are an easier, more affordable way to see if you like playing piano. I didn't really like playing the Casios and most of the Yamahas, but playing the Kawai is nice.

If you are committed, whatever it cost for an acoustic is worth whatever you can possibly afford to play. The way the sound leaps from the piano and fills the room, with all it's subtle nuances of tone, resonance, and dynamics, is priceless.

Last edited by Joe Garfield; 07/28/14 05:46 PM.
#2308315 - 07/28/14 09:46 PM Re: Digital Piano Sufficient for a Newbie? [Re: DancerJ]  
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Almaviva Offline
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If you are not sure whether you have the talent or determination to "stick with your lessons", a digital piano would be a good choice for a beginner. Digital pianos cost less than acoustics, they never need tuning or voicing, they take up less space, they are easier to move, you can play them privately while wearing headphones, and they have all kinds of cool gadgets on them that an acoustic can't match. A VERY nice new digital piano lists for $2,500 or less, real-world "street" prices are even lower, and prices for used digitals are lower still. Make sure you get an 88-key model with a weighted keyboard that sounds and "feels" as much like an acoustic piano as you can get.

That said, if you are truly serious about your music, especially classical music, you will outgrow your beginner digital piano in a few years and you will be yearning for a good acoustic model. But don't worry, you haven't wasted your money on the digital - it will become your "second piano" when you want to play with headphones, record your own playing, use all of those cool gadgets, etc.

Expect to pay $50 per hour or more for lessons, regardless of whether you choose an acoustic or digital piano. That's $2,400 per year, and years of lessons will be needed to achieve proficiency. That will be your biggest operating expense in the long run.

Last edited by Almaviva; 07/28/14 10:23 PM.

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