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Topic Options
#909564 - 01/07/03 09:00 AM Re: Help! Clueless Dad just getting started
txranger Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/05/03
Posts: 11
Loc: Houston, TX

Yes, the FDD is a requirement for the course they are taking or you can get a Midi Player with an FDD.

As for the headphones, I love infrared technology - no cords. But I understand your other concern. Of course I will want to hear my kids at intervals, I'm not an insensitive guy. I just remember how painful endless repitions of simple plinks and toots must have been on my parents and neighbors (I used to like to practice outside, at my mother's encouragement, of course).

I was truly amazed by the touch on the Kawais. The Rolands were decidedly keyboards. However, the low end Kawai with the FDD is $3500, $1000 more than the Roland with equivalent features. Are there any others with realistic feel?

#909565 - 01/07/03 10:00 AM Re: Help! Clueless Dad just getting started
SteveY Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/06/01
Posts: 1820
Loc: NJ
I'm still befuddled by the Kawai touch being better than the Roland -- certainly not my experience. But if it works for you, then great.

For the Kawai dealers out there, does Kawai build the keyboard action for their digitals? Or do they get them from Yamaha or Fatar or ???
PianoWorld disclaimer: musician, producer, arranger, author, clinician, consultant, PS2 aficionado, secret agent...

#909566 - 01/07/03 11:15 AM Re: Help! Clueless Dad just getting started
txranger Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/05/03
Posts: 11
Loc: Houston, TX

Even the dealer said, "Well, Kawai also makes real pianos, and Roland only does digital". She also gave me some technical reason, something to the effect that the sound is generated under the keyboard, whereas the Kawai only has the key mechanism under the keyboard, and the sound generation board elsewhere (or something). Sounded like BS to me, but the feel was good. Maybe they have improved the new Kawai digital feel? Not that the Roland was bad (better than I expected), just not quite as good.

Should I also check out Yamaha and Fatar?

#909567 - 01/07/03 01:07 PM Re: Help! Clueless Dad just getting started
reddavid Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 07/13/02
Posts: 6
Loc: Wayne, PA

I'll try to be brief (it would be a first)...

My 8 year old son needed to begin piano lessons because of his interest in a performing choir. We didn't have a clue about pianos, keyboards, etc. It was waaaaayyy too easy to get swayed by whatever the salesperson had to say at the local music store.

We ended up getting a (free) keyboard from friends (as they upgraded to a 'real' piano). My son used that for a year to make "sounds" - in conjuction with lessons from the local music store. I figured we needed to see if this would be a lasting interest, and it would give us time to think about all the good points mentioned in the above posts.

After a year and a half, my wife said, "time to buy a piano". Well, we were still faced with all the same issues you are facing now. Still got all the same sales pitches from the dealers. I still had no clue what to buy.

Through this forum's sales area, we were able to locate a fantastic, used, upright piano. I did as much research online as I could. I checked out the owners (wonderful folks - and members of pianoworld), the brand, the technicians who worked on the piano...and after satisfying my skepticisms - purchased the piano.

Don't regret it for a minute. I think getting an acoustic piano is a great idea. I think the keyboard approach has it's merits, but I'm happy to have the acoustic. If it turns into "just" furniture, we'll probably sell it (better resale value than a keyboard!)

Also a thought (so much for brevity). I would never encourage headphones for practice - you need to hear whether you son is "getting it" (or even doing it.) Also, kids LOVE to have YOU hear their music. It's one of the best motivations, "Can I have a concert?" Our other child and my wife have also started piano lessons....

Maybe you could rent or borrow something for a period of time. You might be in a position to make a better decision, and will probably find a better deal, piano, dealer, etc., along the way. We did (thanks to this forum!)



#909568 - 01/08/03 04:59 PM Re: Help! Clueless Dad just getting started
Dave S Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/03/02
Posts: 248
Loc: Houston TX
Originally posted by txranger:
Thanks so far.

Dave, I know where your store is at, drive by often. I will qualify your answer with the fact your business sells pianos in a large, posh store in a high dollar area, and even if you sell digital, acoustic is much more expensive and probably equates to higher commissions and profits. I found the Kawai digital to have great sound and the feel was equivalent to a top piano, much better than a used Baldwin upright, for the same price (you are right about the feel of the Roland). Please convince me that you don't have a conflict of interest.

If there are equivalent digital pianos for less, or better quality for the same prices I am interested. Also, where to get the best deal.[/b]
Hey TX,

I think you should know that all my posts contain my dealer information at the bottom. I do this for full disclosure so that everyone knows up front that I am a salesman from a dealership. Anyone who frequents this forum will tell you that my opinions on digital vs. acoustic are very consistent. There was certainly no intention on my part to offend you in any way, and I take no offense at your post, \:\) Being a very public forum I do have to respectfully disagree with your statements about our store.

Your right, I do work in a posh store. It took Mr. Forshey 25 years of hard work to get to this point. You should see the shack of a place that we started in! (Within throwing distance of Gilley's) By the way, our big building is actually more cost effective than having a seperate place for rebuilding and a showroom. And I have to disagree with you about the profit margins...Like most dealers we have pianos in every price catagory.

That being said, I still think that you are better off with a real piano than a digital keyboard. Most of the regulars on this forum will agree with me. If you still insist on a digital, the Kawai is an excellent choice. The action is quite nice. The higher quality models have real wooden keys and the mechanism feels the closest to a real piano that I have encountered. In our area H & H Music would be the dealer for Kawai electronics. Which location did you visit?

If you need a list of piano teachers in your area, I would be very happy to fax a list of private teachers by zip code. Email me directly with your info. Or stop by for a great cup of java!

But hey... Don't hate me because I'm beautiful!!![/b] \:D \:D :p
Dave S.- Piano Sales
Houston Piano Company- Houston, TX
Mason & Hamlin, Brodmann, Perzina, Taylor, Hobart M. Cable, Pearl River, Hardman, PianoDisc, Restored Steinway, and tons of used Kawai & Yamaha
World Crisis' Solved in Ten Minutes or Less!

#909569 - 01/08/03 06:30 PM Re: Help! Clueless Dad just getting started
pianodevo Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/29/02
Posts: 836
Hi Txranger,

Just want to address the private lesson v. group lesson issue.

I've been involved in education my whole life, and have been on both sides of one-to-one lessons many times. And have given many small group lessons in various subjects. BY FAR the better learning environment is 1-1, IMHO, if cost permits.

1-1 permits the learner to ask questions pertinent to his development, and avoid questions others ask which have no bearing on this development. Moreover, private lessons not infrequently allow a genuine personal relationship to develop between the two persons, irrespective of age. [I have tutored a 12-year-old girl for the past year. As it happened, we found we liked each other and each of us considers the other a friend.]

As a young adult who had played piano only a few months, I found a private teacher who, for the first month or two, asked me to visit her twice a week for half an hour... she wanted to be sure my fingers developed the habit of being curved when prepared to play the keys, and returned to the curved position afterwards. Thanks to her great caring for my musical future, I developed this habit, which has allowed me to play much better than would otherwise have been possible. This is one example for you to consider, of the vast difference a good teacher can make in the early stages of learning piano.

Small group lessons in any subject CAN be useful, if there is no alternative and the teacher is quite good. But they cannot compare with 1-1, IMO.

#909570 - 01/08/03 07:36 PM Re: Help! Clueless Dad just getting started
txranger Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/05/03
Posts: 11
Loc: Houston, TX

Good response. I will probably take you up on the offer and give you a chance to prove to me your theory on acoustics. Of course, there is no comparison to a nice grand piano. Then again, there is no comparison between a Mercedes S500 and a Yugo. Just as I don't want my kid to learn to drive in a Yugo, I'm not about to buy them a Mercedes, much less an S500. There is the argument for always buying German cars, too. I happen to think there is some merit there, for those who want to pay for it. Then again, six months down the road, chances are slimmer the car will collect dust.

My parents have two nice dust collectors, 1800 miles away.

I have to admit, looks alone would have kept me out of the store, just figuring I couldn't afford you, or that I could get better prices for the same thing elsewhere. There are many businesses locally that take advantage of the overabundance of pretentious folks, willing to pay anything for their darling child to get a leg up on the competition. If you aren't one, and the facade caused me to generalize, I apologize.

We are trying to develop an interest in music, not a concert pianist. If he can someday jam at a piano with his friends in a band, great. If he graduates to an acoustic or plays trumpet, either is fine. If he has no interest, that's fine too. I have bought into the concept of graded hammer weight keys, but have had a couple very talented folks, with nothing to sell, say they went from the old digitals to acoustic, but have friends who learned on acoustics, that can't function on a keyboard.

So, I will probably save some money and split the difference. The feel of the Yamaha P120 is okay, the Roland HP is nicer, and the Kawai, very realistic.

After six months, maybe sooner, I can see graduating to individual lessons. I will certainly take you up on the offer of a piano teacher.

Either way, thanks for the input.

#909571 - 01/08/03 08:27 PM Re: Help! Clueless Dad just getting started
Mike Morone Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/07/02
Posts: 46
Loc: Indiana
Originally posted by Mom of 3:
The piano won't be here for a few more weeks, but I will be interested to see where they choose to practice. I think they will head to the piano, but maybe not. .[/b]
My experience is that your kids will choose the acoustic piano over the electronic keyboard at least ninety percent of the time.

Three years ago, we bought our two daughters a keyboard because they fought over who got to play our circa-1960 Everett spinet. The spinet remained their first choice.

My theory: You don't have to flip an on/off switch to play the piano. You don't have to adjust the volume. And you don't have to re-adjust the myriad other settings, including instrument voice, that the previous player fooled around with. Lastly, the piano always sounds better.

Now that we've had our Estonia 190 for two weeks, the girls accuse each other of hogging it. It is fairly common to hear both pianos being played at the same time (on different floors of the house). Meanwhile, our keyboard collects dust.

Your family will love the piano!


#909572 - 01/08/03 09:03 PM Re: Help! Clueless Dad just getting started
Dave S Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/03/02
Posts: 248
Loc: Houston TX
Hey TX,

You are welcome to drop by anytime. Jes' lemme know soz I ken git the coffee brewin'. \:D Incidently, we do not offer lessons at the store but do have a very long list of private teachers in the Houston area filed by zip code. It's available anytime, no strings attached. The Houston area teachers have been very good to us over the years. It is our way of supporting them and saying thankee!! Without them I couldn't have this job that I love so much.

As far as proving my theories on acoustics, well...Lets just say that I've been involved in sound development on some of the high-end digital sampling keyboard instruments and synthesizers, even the old analog stuff, since the early 80's. I found it to be a heck of a lot of fun! Still mess around with it a bit as I find it fascinating, and because I want to keep up. Some of the acoustic modeling stuff is amazing. However, there are many shortcomings in all these technologies. If you'd like I can get into that deeper. Keep in mind that I am also a rather prudish individual who doesn't think that CD's are good enough because of the limits of PCM (Pulse Code Modulation) . By the way, most digital keyboards, including the high end stuff use PCM. Pretty good, but...Now, just wait till you hear a Super Audio Compact Disc (SACD) on a SACD player which uses a Direct Stream Digital process!! Now thats recorded music at a whole new level. \:\)

I am very happy and applaud you for choosing to expose your child to music lessons. Like I said in my previous post, group lessons are not bad as a whole, that depends on very many things. Not all private teachers are equal either. I wish your family the best.
Dave S.- Piano Sales
Houston Piano Company- Houston, TX
Mason & Hamlin, Brodmann, Perzina, Taylor, Hobart M. Cable, Pearl River, Hardman, PianoDisc, Restored Steinway, and tons of used Kawai & Yamaha
World Crisis' Solved in Ten Minutes or Less!

#909573 - 01/09/03 04:00 PM Re: Help! Clueless Dad just getting started
OlderGuy Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/16/02
Posts: 40
Loc: Ithaca, NY
As far as touch-and-feel of the Kawais is concered: I have ESX (sells for about $1200), this a keyboard, with small speakers (it is recommended to buy a real amp to it though). It has hammer action keys - feels pretty good to me.
There is a higher-end version the Kawai MP9500, that even har real wood keys and certainly hammers.

It is true that it's is hard to simulate the vibrations of the soundboard of a real piano of the vibrations in your fingertips. In my view though, a good digital can be better than a low end acustic.
Just my 2c worth.

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