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#3082054 02/13/21 03:40 PM
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Hi Folks,

I am looking to purchase a piano for a 7 year old that has started to take piano lessons 4 months ago and is really enjoying it. She is currently on a 61 key RockJam and I can definitely hear it's not quality. My goal is to purchase something that will encourage her to continue practicing and improve. Budget: $1200

Option 1: Mid-70s Wurlitzer, Kimball, or something similar - range $200-300 - risky?
Option 2: Used Yamaha/Kawaii, these are generally really good - range $1200-1500 used
Option 3: Good Digital Piano - used or new range: $300-1200

I am new to this and by no means an expert, our piano teacher is suggesting an acoustic piano, personally I am leaning toward a good digital piano but wanted to hear what others think. The above are just 3, I am open to hear suggestions as long as they align with the goal of encouraging and fostering kids love for music and learning.

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Kawai ES110 or Kawai ES520


Don

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You might want to ask in the Piano Forum. They get these kinds of questions all the time.

In my opinion, you won't get a very good acoustic piano for $1200.

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I'm with you on the choice of a digital piano, but to have to get one with good weighted hammer action keybed and those are generally the higher priced ones. Kids interest come and go so a digital can be stored if she loses interest for awhile and brought back out when interest returns. Also do you live in a house or an apartment because if an apartment acoustic pianos are loud and take up a lot of space. One of the best things for me with my digital piano I can play at any hour of the day and not disturb others. I know that first hand having recently got rid of my acoustic piano. I started on a digital, but then got a old Wurlitzer and it was nice but in an apartment it was loud so I found myself playing my digital piano mainly. Also the action on my new digital was better than the old acoustic piano. Plus with a digital piano you save money because the piano isn't going to go out of tune and need maintenance like a acoustic piano.

Best thing is if you can find a local friend or someone or a piano tech who can checkout the used pianos for you. Digital piano the 88 key models most have full size weighted and some hammer action keybed. When you get less than 88 keys then many digital have what is called "synth" type keys that are softer action and many have narrower keys and some shorter keys. Roland and Yamaha both have 88 key digitals with good keybeds. They have ones like a acoustic piano like keybed but they expensive like my Roland RD-2000 I play.

You ever hear the old saying about people who want boats, there two happiest days are the day they buy one and the day they sell it. Acoustic pianos kind of the same thing that size, loudness, and at some point people tire of playing. So if you look around you local classified ads a lot of people are giving away piano trying to get them out of their house. Also don't be skittish about offering way less than people are asking. A lot of people think a piano old it worth a lot, not for the average piano. Or they bought it new and paid $$$ and don't realize the average piano loses value not gains. So if you take your time you should be able to get a good deal or even free piano for the price of having it moved.

So there are some thing to think about in making your decision.

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Also, an acoustic piano has to be moved and tuned, so your $1200 is really $600. Don't get me wrong, I love real pianos. I have a Yamaha C3 grand and a Charles Walter console. Just trying to be realistic with your budget constraints.

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I would go with a decent digital for now and start saving for an acoustic. While you can get lucky and find a used acoustic on a $1200 budget, your odds aren't all that great. In a year or so you will probably know whether or not your daughter is going to stick with piano and at that point you will have had time to increase your budget and to get to know pianos a bit better to help you in your search. The digital you get should have weighted keys (and 88 of them).

If you look to the left of your screen you will see an ad for the Piano Buyer's Guide. You can read online about acoustic and digital pianos, new and used. Very helpful.


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You can buy a new, "slab-format" digital piano (88 weighted keys) for somewhere between $500 and $700 US. The Casio PX-S1000 is one example, there are others.
I'd budget around $100 additional for a wooden stand; a "double-braced X-stand" will work (for about $50), but not as well.

You can carry it under your arm, it stays in tune forever, you can store it in a closet if you must. You can practice with headphones, silently.

It doesn't feel quite like an acoustic piano, and it doesn't sound quite like an acoustic piano:

. . . but if you want to learn to play piano (or want somebody else to learn to play),
. . . it'll do the job.

I admit to bias, since I own one.


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Charles' posts ALWAYS make a lot of sense!

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Hi vladds --

I concur with other posters, you might get lucky but you probably won't find a good acoustic piano in that price range. There are high quality digital pianos which are excellent starter instruments, and she can move up to a high quality acoustic later if she gets really into it.

My understanding is that, generally speaking, the best quality digitals are those made by Roland, Yamaha, and Kawai. (I myself started off on a Kawai CN34.) I've read that Casio's models are not quite as good, but are still high quality and represent good value for money. Be sure to get something with weighted keys.

Good luck and enjoy!

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Don

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Pianos in your price range are very tough. I had a student once get a free piano just because the elderly lady was moving out of her house. High-end brand, newish, never played, easily worth several thousand on the low side. My student's dad had the experience and moved it himself with co-workers. Free.

On the flipside, I had an adult student pay more than $1,000 for a very used upright in awful condition just because he loved the name on the fallboard (and it was an Aeolian stencil, to boot; not even what he thought he was getting). It was worth probably nothing.

So, either hunt and wait around Craigslist, or go with one of the digital options (and for better reasons) mentioned above.


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I would think digital piano would be the way to go. Mainly because of the age factor. I have had really good luck buying used on Reverb. I would stay away from really old pianos unless you know what you're looking at. It can become a money pit or firewood. Very expensive firewood.


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Hi Vladds,

I wouldn't go acoustic for that price unless you know how to tell if the piano is in excellent shape, have a technician come with you, or you get real lucky and somehow find a certified used acoustic in a music store. Acoustic pianos are too loud for an apartment or duplex.

For Digital up to $1,200 - Casio PX-870 ($999). Casios used to be junky toys. Lately, the higher end models have improved quite a bit. And you get the most bang for the buck.

If you want to spend less, then a lesser Casio or a Yamaha P-125 ($650). But you'll have to buy a 3 pedal for an additional $75 and a double x-stand for an additional $75. So, $150 extra for a total of $800.

Good luck


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Originally Posted by vladds
Hi Folks,

I am looking to purchase a piano for a 7 year old that has started to take piano lessons 4 months ago and is really enjoying it. She is currently on a 61 key RockJam and I can definitely hear it's not quality. My goal is to purchase something that will encourage her to continue practicing and improve. Budget: $1200

Option 1: Mid-70s Wurlitzer, Kimball, or something similar - range $200-300 - risky?
Option 2: Used Yamaha/Kawaii, these are generally really good - range $1200-1500 used
Option 3: Good Digital Piano - used or new range: $300-1200

I am new to this and by no means an expert, our piano teacher is suggesting an acoustic piano, personally I am leaning toward a good digital piano but wanted to hear what others think. The above are just 3, I am open to hear suggestions as long as they align with the goal of encouraging and fostering kids love for music and learning.
I love a good digital piano and I have owned many digital grands throughout the years. I don't see anything wrong with a child starting out on a digital grand but if they start showing a genuine interest and especially if they show talent, I would follow your teacher's advice and get a real acoustic as soon as you are able. Though they may sound and appear to play the same there are nuances that make them different instruments. That said, I agree that it may be hard to find a good piano for $1200, but if you have found a Yamaha or Kawai being sold at that price and you have a technician to confirm that they are good buys, I'd say go for the acoustic every time. Ideally, a child has both a digital for quiet practice if quiet time is a needed and an acoustic so that they develop a good tactile sense for acoustic actions at an early age. All else being equal it would always be better for a child to learn on a good acoustic piano over a good digital piano if the goal is to teach them to play on an acoustic piano eventually simply for the reason that they get a feel for it during critical periods of their development.

Last edited by Jethro; 03/01/21 03:47 PM.

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