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What to buy? Used Yamaha P60, P120, or new P125? #2744129
06/13/18 11:34 AM
06/13/18 11:34 AM
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mrsuitcase Offline OP
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Cross-posted from the main Piano forum. My apologies - I'm a newb and it should have gone here.


Full disclaimer - I know next to nothing about Pianos. My 10 yo daughter has been playing for a couple of years, so I am buying for her.

She’s been using a 100 year old upright heirloom at home (the kind that can’t be tuned perfectly anymore). So, when the sound differences between our piano and her teacher's piano started to bug her, I thought it might be time to get something newer. I can't get rid of the heirloom, so I thought that bringing in a digital piano might do the trick.

Our music teacher asked that if we get something new, it should be with weighted keys, naturally.

I went to the local music store. We are on a budget, so I asked about used. The salesman pointed us towards a used Yamaha P-60 ($360 CAD) and a P-120 ($500 CAD). My daughter tried them out and she like the P-120 more than the P-60.

I left so I could try to do some research. And when I got home and checked the internet, as an IT guy, I was floored to see these are 15 year old models. So, I guess my questions are
1) Should this amount of age be of concern to me in the realm of digital pianos?
2) Is the P-120 worth the incremental money?
3) Should I consider something newer? E.g. I saw a new yahama P-125 online. Would it be worth it to take more time to save up for that one or something else newer? There’s so much out there. What would you suggest? I just looked at Yamaha because it was simply easier to compare, but there's a gazillion overwhelming choices out there for someone who knows next to nothing.
4) Lastly, would those be fair prices for the above? I suspect they are decent prices (coming from a store), but I wouldn't really know.

I know this was long winded. Thanks for taking the time to read it, and I appreciate any feedback you may have to offer.

JJ.

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Re: What to buy? Used Yamaha P60, P120, or new P125? [Re: mrsuitcase] #2744148
06/13/18 01:37 PM
06/13/18 01:37 PM
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Faiz Offline
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Hi, welcome to the forum!
I am not Yamaha digital piano fan,
But if I am to choose Yamaha DP, I will avoid Yamaha with GHS action (like P45, P125, YDP143, etc.).
Since your daughter has played for some years, it's time to consider a piano with good action. Good action can help to develop fingers strength, dexterity, and or overall playing experience.
But buying years old electronic is pretty risky tho.

Choose what she likes the most. If you consider the P125, let your daughter or her teacher try it first if possible.

Cheers!


Let's help each other... laugh
Re: What to buy? Used Yamaha P60, P120, or new P125? [Re: mrsuitcase] #2744155
06/13/18 02:54 PM
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It's somewhat subjective, so people's opinions may differ, but my general expectation would be that the P125 would sound better than those older models, but the older models will feel better than the P125. If she's happy with the sound and feel of the P120, I'd be inclined to go with that. Plus you can always connect it to a computer in the future to play other piano sounds from it, so in that respect, the feel (which you can't change) is more important than the sound (which you can). Though of course it's nice and convenient to have a sound you like built in, too!

Re: What to buy? Used Yamaha P60, P120, or new P125? [Re: mrsuitcase] #2744160
06/13/18 03:05 PM
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Might be at the top end of your budget but for a better action, and more functions, a Casio PX160 would be worth trying if that’s possible.

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Re: What to buy? Used Yamaha P60, P120, or new P125? [Re: mrsuitcase] #2744162
06/13/18 03:12 PM
06/13/18 03:12 PM
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Yes, I would not consider a fifteen-year-old piano. Too old.

And as Faiz suggests, I'd stay away from the Yamaha GHS action.Yes, that action is better then those of the bargain-priced toy piano keyboards, but still not good enough.
In the Yamaha console line, move up to the YDP163 or better. And there are also many Kawai and Roland choices that are better.

Summary: Avoid old and avoid cheap. Or you and your daughter will be sorry.

Do you have any thought on how much you'd be willing to spend?

Re: What to buy? Used Yamaha P60, P120, or new P125? [Re: mrsuitcase] #2744166
06/13/18 03:22 PM
06/13/18 03:22 PM
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Some thoughts, not absolute truths by any means:

Quote
1) Should this amount of age be of concern to me in the realm of digital pianos?


Technology has progressed, but lower end models even today are not all that special. The piano sounds may have improved a little over the years and some details adding to the realism have become more common. Such as "damper resonance", which is found in the P120 but probably not in the P60. It only matters when the sustain/damper pedal is held down. That's all the extra stuff found in many modern low end models. Except for Roland which has more complete resonance modeling even in the cheaper models (such as FP30 and RP102).

One buzzword is polyphony and P60 has a very low value of 32, which may or may not be a problem. The P120 has double i.e. 64. Today 128 tends to be the minimum for modern models.

Old electronics may be more failure prone than new electronics, but you never know when something is about to blow up. A new device would at least have a warranty.

Quote
2) Is the P-120 worth the incremental money?


Based on technical specifications and your daughter's first hand experience, yes. But is it worth 500 CAD? Maybe. You can't buy anything decent as new for that amount of money. At 700 CAD or a little more you probably start to have some options that could actually be worth considering, like Roland FP30, Casio Privia PX160, Kawai ES110 etc.

Quote
3) Should I consider something newer?


For peace of mind, yes. For features, maybe not if you want to stick to 500 CAD. As was suggested the P125 has an "inferior" key action (GHS) to the P120 (GH). "Inferior" as in even today Yamaha still has the (more or less) same GH in modern products and they are higher in the product category and Yamaha themselves consider GH as more realistic and quieter (if in good condition).

Quote
4) Lastly, would those be fair prices for the above? I suspect they are decent prices (coming from a store), but I wouldn't really know.


I don't find them ridiculous. Will the store give any sort of warranty? Have they been thoroughly checked and maybe even serviced?

Lastly, the P120 apparently had some keybed problems that were repaired under warranty as suggested in Wikipedia. I don't know could a unit have avoided the repair campaign. Maybe if the user experienced no problems at that time...

Re: What to buy? Used Yamaha P60, P120, or new P125? [Re: mrsuitcase] #2744174
06/13/18 03:33 PM
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I bought Roland FP-30 for my 6 years old son. Better sound and key action then Yamaha's IMHO.
We had tried all of them: Yamaha P45 and P115, Casio PX160, Kawai ES100. Kawai was very good as well, but there is no local Service Center for Kawai.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oF64g8nh1Ck

After one year of studying he made a lot of progress.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q4GxPN3XOv0

Re: What to buy? Used Yamaha P60, P120, or new P125? [Re: clothearednincompo] #2744175
06/13/18 03:33 PM
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I'm a bit less leery about failure of the electronics, and more concerned about the mechanical parts of the action.
Originally Posted by clothearednincompo
Old electronics may be more failure prone than new electronics, but you never know when something is about to blow up. A new device would at least have a warranty.
My piano is ten years old and had only one electrical issue: foreign material under a contact pad. (And you might deem that a mechanical issue, not an electrical one.)

All other problems were mechanical. Keys needing lubrication. Several times. Broken contact pads. Worn rail felt. All that within the first eight years.

A fifteen-year-old piano could be in bad shape ... and a visual inspection would not reveal that.

A single repair might cost $150 or more. An old, cheap piano in need of such repair would be worth nothing.

Buy new, or at least buy something much newer than fifteen years old.

Re: What to buy? Used Yamaha P60, P120, or new P125? [Re: mrsuitcase] #2744178
06/13/18 03:45 PM
06/13/18 03:45 PM
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According to Wikipedia the P120 was released in 2002(!) for which I would not spend CAD 500 in 2018.

Since all digital pianos are made somewhere outside Japan at low production costs, I would go for the cheapest option (e.g. a barley used P-45 featuring USB MIDI). Those might also not loose as much value on resale.

Consider the newer P125 or Roland FP30 for warranty and a more refinded USB MIDI OUT interface, targeting the option of using Pianoteq as a more accurate external piano sound generator.

In the mid term and for the sake of your daugters ear training, I would consider a complete technical restoration of your heirloom upright, and get a quote by one or two qualified technicians. With a relaxed restoration schedule one of them might offer you a good price.

HTH

Last edited by lophiomys; 06/13/18 03:49 PM. Reason: typo1
Re: What to buy? Used Yamaha P60, P120, or new P125? [Re: mrsuitcase] #2744185
06/13/18 04:17 PM
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mrsuitcase Offline OP
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Thanks for all the responses.

I contacted the store about return policy, etc. if there is something wrong. They mentioned they have a warranty for the used pianos for 4% per year, which seems like a decent price.

I'm now fairly thoroughly convinced of the 120 over the 60, and the newer 125 (I hadn't realized there were differences in weighted keys). And I appreciate those pointing me towards alternatives brands which I will check out, like the Casio 160, and Kawai.

edit: as to price. The budget is about $500 plus enough for a few accessories if needed. Anything more requires saving (i.e. time).

Last edited by mrsuitcase; 06/13/18 04:22 PM.
Re: What to buy? Used Yamaha P60, P120, or new P125? [Re: mrsuitcase] #2744187
06/13/18 04:20 PM
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One thought on keyboard actions:

I have a Kawai MP7 (RH2 action) from 2014 and recently got a used P-45 (GHS action) with Pianoteq (currently my favorite combination for silent practice) - and switch between those and a German quality grand in a music school for pratice sessions. (Not the roughly 100 year old August Förster, which I have mentioned in earlier posts).

The GHS action in the P-45 feels significantly closer to this specific grand piano.
The RH2 action feels a bit more shallow and light, with a dry stop (probably comparable to a very lightly regulated grand piano action).

The question for you might be:
What other pianos your daughter is confronted with at music school and what her piano teacher thinks about building finger strenght?
I would ask the piano teacher about his/her opinion before your make your purchase.

Re: What to buy? Used Yamaha P60, P120, or new P125? [Re: mrsuitcase] #2744218
06/13/18 06:48 PM
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If you're buying used, I'd consider broadening your search a bit (do you use Craigslist in CA?).

The prices you've been given aren't crazy high, but as others have mentioned they are pretty old instruments, and you tend to see a price floor for old stuff (since it's not worth it for a lot of sellers to list it for less). For $400 USD you could do worse than a GH-action keyboard like the P120, assuming it's in good condition. If I was convinced of the condition, I would get that over a brand new P-45 or P-125.

Does it come with a music rest and pedal? Can you haggle with the store, and have them throw in a stand and bench? For those on a hard budget, the extra (or missing) accessories can add up.


Yamaha P-85, P-105, CP50 || Kawai NV-10, MP11
Re: What to buy? Used Yamaha P60, P120, or new P125? [Re: mrsuitcase] #2744223
06/13/18 07:38 PM
06/13/18 07:38 PM
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There is some good advice above. Here are my thoughts:

I would not consider buying a 15-year old piano, but your price range is very tight for a new piano. The Yamaha P-45 might qualify, though I'm not sure about Canadian prices. It has a GHS action, similar to the P-115/125, but an older sound engine (AWM vs Pure CF).

The usual advice for those on a tight budget is to consider used pianos a couple of years old, often sold by purchasers who didn't realize that piano proficiency requires a lot of time and determination. The candidates in your price range would then be (used) Yamaha P-115, Casio PX-160, Kawai ES110 and Roland FP-30.

However, when I was piano shopping some seven months ago, I found it difficult to find reasonably priced used pianos and could not be sure whether they had been cared for. I ended up buying mine new, helped by a 20% off coupon (these pop up every few months at chain stores) plus a manufacturer's holiday rebate over Thanksgiving/Christmas.

Opinions on digital piano actions vary. I returned to the piano after a 40-year break last year (having reached an intermediate level as a child after 10 years of study) and have been content with the GHS action on my Yamaha DGX-660, a "bells-and-whistles" version of the P-115/125. The action is certainly not hampering my progress and the overall design (sound, features, user interface) is superb.

Here is a piano teacher playing Mozart's K. 545 sonata on her Yamaha YDP-141 (GHS action, older AWM sound): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=anc45iBudaM
Here is a college student playing Mozart's K. 284 sonata on his Yamaha P-115 (GHS action, newer Pure CF Sound): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rR-hGy3XIpA

Best wishes for finding the right piano for your daughter!

Re: What to buy? Used Yamaha P60, P120, or new P125? [Re: mrsuitcase] #2744227
06/13/18 08:25 PM
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Charles Cohen Online content
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In Canada, Costco is selling a Casio PX-160 (with stand and bench and triple-pedal) for $650 Cdn:

https://www.costco.ca/Casio%C2%AE-PX-160CSSPCB-Digital-Piano.product.100221671.html

If your budget can stretch that far, IMHO it's a good deal. It's a considerably better instrument than the used Yamaha's you've mentioned.

If not, you might find a used Casio PX-150 or PX-160 on Craigslist. I prefer the Casio action, to the Yamaha GHS action in its low-end DP's.


. Charles
---------------------------
PX-350 / microKorg XL+ / Pianoteq / Lounge Lizard / Korg Wavedrum / EV ZXA1 speaker
Re: What to buy? Used Yamaha P60, P120, or new P125? [Re: Charles Cohen] #2744229
06/13/18 08:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Charles Cohen
IIf not, you might find a used Casio PX-150 or PX-160 on Craigslist. I prefer the Casio action, to the Yamaha GHS action in its low-end DP's.

though the older Yamahas he mentioned have Yamaha's better-than-GHS action. They will also have better speakers than the bottom Casios. I would not assume the Casio will provide a better playing experience.

Re: What to buy? Used Yamaha P60, P120, or new P125? [Re: anotherscott] #2744237
06/13/18 08:44 PM
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Originally Posted by anotherscott
. . .
though the older Yamahas he mentioned have Yamaha's better-than-GHS action. They will also have better speakers than the bottom Casios. I would not assume the Casio will provide a better playing experience.


You have a point. The P120 uses the "GHE" action, which seems to be the same as the GH action, which (when I tried it several years ago) was about on par with the Casio's action. Maybe a bit better, maybe not.

The P120 amps are 12.5 watts/channel, the PX-160 amps 8 watts/ channel -- 2 dB down.

Try them both . . .


. Charles
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PX-350 / microKorg XL+ / Pianoteq / Lounge Lizard / Korg Wavedrum / EV ZXA1 speaker
Re: What to buy? Used Yamaha P60, P120, or new P125? [Re: mrsuitcase] #2744240
06/13/18 08:48 PM
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My take on this ...
Originally Posted by mrsuitcase
The budget is about $500 plus enough for a few accessories if needed. Anything more requires saving (i.e. time).
... is choose the latter. Save money, even if it takes time.
That way you can spend hundreds on a new or nearly new piano that YOU can use for 15 years, rather than spend hundreds on a piano that someone has beaten on for 15 years.

Simply put I would NEVER consider buying any of the pianos you listed. They were low-end when new, and that's okay. But now they're very old. They're not worth hundreds of dollars. Not. Not. Not. Save your money for something newer.

As for the "warranty of 4% per year, which seems like a decent price". That's a scam. Nobody warrants old merchandise for cheap. If you ever have a claim, they'll say that parts are not available, so sorry. And that would surely be true for any parts needed to repair a 15-year-old piano. Translation: Such a warranty is worthless.

I have a very bad feeling about this.

Re: What to buy? Used Yamaha P60, P120, or new P125? [Re: Charles Cohen] #2744261
06/13/18 10:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Charles Cohen
The P120 amps are 12.5 watts/channel, the PX-160 amps 8 watts/ channel -- 2 dB down.

No, the -2 dB figure only applies if they are both using speakers of the same efficiency. Since we don't know the efficiency of the speakers they're using, we can't assume much about their relative volumes. But I think the P120 speakers will sound better (and I should have qualified this earlier, because I am not certain) because, AFAIK, Yamaha pianos have always used 2-way speakers. The Casio 150/160 uses single full-range speakers on each side. It's why the 150/160 speakers do not sound as good as the 350/360 speakers (which I believe are sill the same power).

Re: What to buy? Used Yamaha P60, P120, or new P125? [Re: Charles Cohen] #2744262
06/13/18 10:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Charles Cohen
In Canada, Costco is selling a Casio PX-160 (with stand and bench and triple-pedal) for $650 Cdn:

https://www.costco.ca/Casio%C2%AE-PX-160CSSPCB-Digital-Piano.product.100221671.html

Wow - I would jump all over this Costco deal, if at all possible. The integrated stand and pedals, plus bench make this extremely attractive.

Re: What to buy? Used Yamaha P60, P120, or new P125? [Re: mrsuitcase] #2744272
06/13/18 11:29 PM
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I just wanted to add that I agree with the comments about the "GHS". I have a DGX-650 which uses it and I honestly hate the feel. Been looking around for an upgrade for the last two years mostly because of the GHS. I also agree with the comments that suggest saving money for something better.

Re: What to buy? Used Yamaha P60, P120, or new P125? [Re: anotherscott] #2744274
06/13/18 11:45 PM
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Originally Posted by anotherscott
[quote=Charles Cohen] . . . But I think the P120 speakers will sound better (and I should have qualified this earlier, because I am not certain) because, AFAIK, Yamaha pianos have always used 2-way speakers. The Casio 150/160 uses single full-range speakers on each side. . . .


You're right about not knowing the speaker efficiency.

The Yamaha P120 uses 12cm x 8cm speakers, one per side. The PX-160 uses (if I read the specs right) 4.7" (=12cm) round speakers, one per side. Advantage to Casio, but not by much.

I think I'd take the new PX-160, but I'm not the OP -- different budget, different biases.


. Charles
---------------------------
PX-350 / microKorg XL+ / Pianoteq / Lounge Lizard / Korg Wavedrum / EV ZXA1 speaker
Re: What to buy? Used Yamaha P60, P120, or new P125? [Re: mrsuitcase] #2744352
06/14/18 09:40 AM
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If the Yamaha is a full range speaker (rather than a 2-way speaker), then yes, there's no inherent speaker advantage over the Casio. Regardless, which sounds better remains an open question.

Re: What to buy? Used Yamaha P60, P120, or new P125? [Re: mrsuitcase] #2744367
06/14/18 10:54 AM
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I have a P120 and am surprised at how well it stands up after all these years, even when switching back and forth between it and my Yamaha KX8 and some of the latest software pianos like Grandeur, the Giant, and PianoTeq 6. I talked with my wife about selling it and buying something like a StudioLogic SL88 Studio (The KX8 isn't a bad midi controller, but it is pretty bulky to haul around, and geared more toward Cubase crowd and I'm a Logic guy), but my wife worried about what we'd do when kids visit - right now they can push the power button and play away, no worry about a laptop or software or a sound system. I find myself doing the same when I just want to play. The speakers are rich and full, the polyphony is fine for my playing style, and the piano sound is fine! The action is a little heavier than that of the KX8, but nothing that would keep me from playing it.

I did look to see what going prices are for a P120 and $500 seemed to be the going price. Not bad as far as holding its value.

If it were me, as much as I like the P120, I would probably lean more toward saving a bit more and jumping up to something like the Casio PX 360 or PX 560, just because you're getting a new device with a good reputation for keyboard feel, relatively portable (lighter weight), full warranty and the latest and greatest electronic capabilities as well as decent built-in speakers.

Last edited by Doug Brock; 06/14/18 10:55 AM. Reason: slight clarification

Yamaha P120, Yamaha KX8, Logic Pro X, NI Komplete 11, Symphobia 1 and 3
Re: What to buy? Used Yamaha P60, P120, or new P125? [Re: mrsuitcase] #2744373
06/14/18 11:27 AM
06/14/18 11:27 AM
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Getting back to another aspect discussed, personally, I'd have no qualms about buying a 15 year old board, if it seemed to be in perfect operating condition. Of course it's always nice to buy something new, be the first owner so you know the history, have a full warranty. But once you're looking used, age doesn't matter much. You could pick up a 3 year old board that was used to play 300 gigs and stored in between in all kinds of temperature and humidity situations, or a 15 year old board that was hardly played and kept in a comfortable climate living room. If it's in good shape and the keys feel good, I don't think the older one is necessarily more likely to fail in the next 5-10 years than the newer just by virtue of its age.

Re: What to buy? Used Yamaha P60, P120, or new P125? [Re: mrsuitcase] #2744383
06/14/18 11:54 AM
06/14/18 11:54 AM
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Vancouver, BC
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NormB Offline
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Quote
Getting back to another aspect discussed, personally, I'd have no qualms about buying a 15 year old board, if it seemed to be in perfect operating condition.


I concur. Among others, I still have a Yamaha p200 here that I bought in 1999. It works faultlessly, and over the years the only repair I made was to replace a couple of felt strips that muted the hammer noise. It has little monetary value today, but someone who got it would have a lot of reliable keyboard for just a few bucks.

But as you say, a two year gigged board--not a good choice.

Re: What to buy? Used Yamaha P60, P120, or new P125? [Re: mrsuitcase] #2744418
06/14/18 01:50 PM
06/14/18 01:50 PM
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+1 for CASIO PX-160 new (or used if you can find it on Craigslist), preferably for the whole slab/stand/bench/tri-pedal setup.

Best value and bang for buck entry-level digital piano (not the best entry-level, but on sale, was less than half the price of new Kawai ES110/Roland FP-30), I picked up the slab-only version on sale for $500 CAD new from Amazon.ca early in the year as my secondary digital piano slab to keep at my work desk.

If in Canada, as mentioned above by Charles, Costco.ca's $650 retail online price with free shipping (not including taxes) is great for the whole slab/stand/bench/tri-pedal setup, and worth saving up for.

Also, while you save up, you can see if it will go on sale again soon like it was several weeks ago (late April/early May?) for $550 CAD online. They are no longer carried in-store, where the sales were great at $500 CAD for the whole setup.

It is a small, yet worthwhile investment to save up for, in my opinion.


All work and no piano make Homer something something.
--
Kawai ES8 | CASIO PX-160 | Yamaha NP-30 and NP-11
--
Previous:
some old Technics DP | an old CASIO CTK
Re: What to buy? Used Yamaha P60, P120, or new P125? [Re: mrsuitcase] #2744468
06/14/18 05:06 PM
06/14/18 05:06 PM
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It's hard to beat those Costco bundle deals, since they tend to actually have "everything you need to start playing." The main drawback of buying used (assuming the gear is functional) is that it often tends to be missing accessories. Add a $30 bench, $50 stand, $20 music rest, and $15 pedal and things start to add up. Heck, I once paid $75 for a dang music rest for my CP50. I needed it but it was the worst feeling purchase I've made in a while smile


Yamaha P-85, P-105, CP50 || Kawai NV-10, MP11
Re: What to buy? Used Yamaha P60, P120, or new P125? [Re: Charles Cohen] #2744582
06/14/18 11:30 PM
06/14/18 11:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Charles Cohen
In Canada, Costco is selling a Casio PX-160 (with stand and bench and triple-pedal) for $650 Cdn


That's a really good deal, around 20% less than that bundle goes for at KraftMusic in the USA (doing the currency conversion). And it's not even a special Costco model, something done in the USA, for example selling the Costco-only Roland FP-25 (nearly identical to the FP-30) with stand and pedalboard for US $799 (CDN $1049), compared to a near-identical FP-30 bundle elsewhere for US $909.


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