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Hello, I hope I'm posting this in an appropriate place, if not I apologise. I'm looking to buy a digital piano for a very enthusiastic 7 year old to play with. Our only space for an instrument is at the top of a narrow stairway, so unfortunately an upright is out of the question, as is the CA99 which I was told comes pre-assembled. We had just about decided on a CA79 but suddenly it's become difficult to source locally with a waiting list of a few months. The CN39 was suggested to me as a good value substitute, and I'm a bit astounded at it being exactly half the price of the CA79. I've done my reading on Kawai's website and watched a lot of YouTube vids to try to understand the differences in action, but I'm a bit lost as I've never played a digital, whether with plastic or wood keys, and I'm not sure just how big a difference there is in playing experience to a real upright, and also how different Kawai's RH versus GFIII is? There isn't a showroom near us locally for me to go and have a look at the different models so I'm kind of hunting in the dark here.

I know the major difference between the two models is the plastic versus wood keys, and the CA79 has a long list of extras including the touchscreen, the six speakers, a totally different sound engine etc. I'm just wondering if you think it's worth waiting the extra time and paying double the price for it, or going for the CN39 which can be delivered tomorrow? What's swaying me a little is that there are apparently over 300 sounds on the 39, versus 66 on the '79. It's also much lighter and easier to get up said narrow staircase. Do you think a kid would have more fun with the CN39's sounds? Or would the plastic keys be a bad idea in terms of durability and learning not-so-ideal habits? From what I can see/hear in YouTube demo videos, the CN39 seems to have a good sound - has anyone played one and can advise on just how good or bad the plastic keys are?

Any guidance would be much appreciated. Daughter is going nuts to get an instrument and my head hurts trying to figure it out.

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While more sounds can be fun, what you really need is that one excellent piano sound. Both of those can provide that - at the beginner level, most certainly, but from my understanding also beyond the beginner.

If your kid really wants to play around, any app that can intake bluetooth midi and output sound will do, you're not limited to the sounds that the piano has.


As far as the speakers go - will they be relevant? If your daughter would spend most of the time playing using headphones, I daresay no.


But if she's raring to go - I'd say to get the piano you can get her playing on today before she loses interest. If she's still into it a couple years from now, a newer and better piano can be a very special present. A future bribe against good behaviour, even.


(That said, I have the CA 79, but haven't had a chance to try the CN 39, so I cannot give a comparison based on my own experience.

Last edited by steamrick; 01/13/22 04:02 PM.

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To complicate matters, you may also consider the ca59 if it exists in stock. If not, I would follow steamrick advice...

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Your kid is unlikely to notice much difference between the two models at this point. The CA79 sounds wonderful and has a remarkably good keybed. The CN39 is only a notch below the CA79 in these regards. I wasn't impressed by the touchscreen on the CA78. So, unless it is improved on the CA79, I would not make a big deal about that. The interface on the CN39 is easy to use and effective. Unless you compare the two side by side, it would be hard for most people to find fault with the CN39.

I could be wrong, but I'm pretty sure the CN39 has the same SK-EX grand voice that I use 95% of the time on my MP7SE because it sounds beautiful and works with many music styles. And I believe the terrific RHIII keybed on the CN39 is the same as my MP7SE. Obviously, the GFIII is better. Wooden keys do feel a little nicer, and the longer pivot can be helpful on demanding passages where you are reaching up near the top of the white keys on fast runs and struggle to get enough force into the notes. Again, not something a kid is likely to really notice.

The CA79 is expensive, and seems overpriced at 2x the CN39, but that is relative. Some people just want the best digital piano they can buy in their price range.

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Isladele, it is wonderful to see you encouraging your daughter with the piano.

To answer your question: "Would a Kawai CN39 be better for a kid than a CA79?" The simple answer is "No".

The CA79 is one of the best digital pianos, short of going to a hybrid, which is considerably more expensive. I routinely recommend it for serious pianists, especially those who need to practice silently using headphones, due to its excellent Grand Feel III action.

The CN39 is a mid-tier piano, certainly decent for its price. But note that its Responsive Hammer III action is available on the less expensive CN29 and ES920, the latter of which is an even better value.

If you think that your daughter's interest in the piano will last, the CA79 is a better buy. This is assuming that she will be getting lessons and learning classical music the formal way.

If you're unsure of her level of commitment (and who can predict with a 7-year old?), get her an inexpensive piano like the Kawai ES110, Roland FP30 or Yamaha P-125 to start. At that price point, it can easily be resold to upgrade later, and it will not constrain her development for several years.

All the best,
Lotus
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Having fun with: Tema con Variazioni from
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Would a CN39 be better than CA79 for your 7 year old child?

Yes.

Despite all the new or better or worse features the CA79 offers, there is nothing it offers better to suit the enthusiasms of a 7 year old than does the CN39.

Take the savings and either spend now on lessons or bank them $ to be available in later years for your (then teen) experienced child to decide what upgrade model suits their more-mature enthusiasms. By that time there likely will be newer CA models from Kawai ... as well as competing models from other brands to tempt their preferences.

Best wishes!

Last edited by drewr; 01/13/22 05:24 PM.

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Originally Posted by Lotus1
If you're unsure of her level of commitment (and who can predict with a 7-year old?), get her an inexpensive piano like the Kawai ES110, Roland FP30 or Yamaha P-125 to start. At that price point, it can easily be resold to upgrade later, and it will not constrain her development for several years.

Good point. I'm an adult beginner and purchased a CA99 for home. But since I'm traveling for the winter and did not want to lose out on up to 100 days of potential practice, I purchased a Yamaha P-121, the 73-key version of the P-125.

I don't use the pedals yet and while the P-121 comes with a footswitch to simulate a pedal I haven't even hooked it up.

As for the action difference between the CA99 and the P-121, at my level of "skill", I can only feel a slight difference. But...compared to the old keyboard I had with essentially zero action keys, there is a world of difference with the P-121.

I'm using the P-121 on an x-stand and usually with headphones. I have an adjustable Onstage bench seat.

One thing to consider with a 7 year-old is the height of the keyboard and bench seat. With an x-stand you can lower the keyboard to something acceptable to a younger person. Not so much with a fixed stand, well, at least not without a good saw. smile

If you get a Yamaha "P" before the end of March, you'll get three months of Flowkey Premium: https://usa.yamaha.com/promotions/flowkey/index.html

Kawai gave me 3 months of Skoove. It's OK.

Yes, I'm six decades older than your child and I wish I had started this at their age or thereabouts.

Ray


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Originally Posted by Isladele
Daughter is going nuts to get an instrument and my head hurts trying to figure it out.

None of the feature differences between '39 and '79 makes any difference at all to your daughter. She will love either one equally.

I would not involve her at all with those details.

The '39 is available ? Go get it.

That digital piano will be a fine instrument for her for many years.

The instruction she receives and the practicing she engages in .... is much more important than piano "features".


Don

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Originally Posted by NXR
Yes, I'm six decades older than your child and I wish I had started this at their age or thereabouts. Ray

You know, "NXR" Ray, you are doing this the right way and I am sure you will succeed, even if you started late.

I have read some of your earlier posts about how you started with an old unweighted keyboard, just to see whether you would stick with it. Only after confirming that you are serious did you buy a Kawai CA99, the best digital piano in my opinion, and at a great price. And supplemented that with the ultra-portable Yamaha P-121, so as not to miss practicing when you are on the road.

You have done your research on online learning options, have subscribed to one, and have come a long way in a few months. Congratulations! I wish that other beginners would follow your lead and:

* start with a modest keyboard to make sure you will stick with it
* budget for lessons, through books, online or in-person
* work at it every day, for an hour at least.

The Kawai ES110, Roland FP30 and Yamaha P-125 are fine weighted-key pianos that will not hamper a beginner's progress for 3-5 years, at least. And if you decide that the piano is not for you, an under-$1000 keyboard will be far easier to resell than a $5000 console, due to its price and portability.

In a few years, you will not be a beginner and can decide how you want to upgrade: a better digital, a hybrid, or an acoustic?

To the original poster "Isladele": of course, the CA79 is superior to the CN39. If you have no financial constraints and are sure that your daughter will stick with it, go for the better piano. She may not appreciate the difference today, but in a few years will certainly do so. If uncertain, I have named some far less expensive options that represent good value for a beginner.

All the best,
Lotus
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Having fun with: Tema con Variazioni from
Mozart: Sonata in D, K. 284, "Durnitz" on
Kawai GM-10 grand / Yamaha DGX-660 digital

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Thank you all so much for the kind advice. I've been reading the thread with my daughter Irenie and we've had a thorough family discussion about all the points raised and the different models. If the CA79 had been available we'd have got it in a heartbeat, but the latest news on stock is that it would be "at least 4 months" to import it from either France or Germany, and that's just no good. I should have mentioned that Irenie's been learning to play for the last few months using her grandmother's Kawai K-15 upright which she's just fallen in love with. It -is- a lovely instrument, but Granny's goodwill has to be wearing a little thin given that she scoots over there most evenings to play it. And now she has her sights set on learning the first movement of the Moonlight Sonata. I don't think we can, in all good conscience, inflict a daily helping of butchered Beethoven on my in-laws in their retirement! We've explained that we just can't get an upright up the stairs to her room and she's fine with that, but I'm hoping that whichever model we get isn't so much of a disappointment soundwise that she falls out of love with playing. She's a musical kid, very committed, and she does appreciate differences in sound quality, so I'm a bit worried. Her piano teacher has a Yamaha which she doesn't like at all (the keys are heavy apparently and the sound is, I quote, "dark and muffly.")

I guess whichever digital we get is a compromise, so we think maybe the best idea is to make a long term plan to rearrange the living space downstairs and make room for a small music den with a good upright. In the meantime, we're going to order the CN39 as it's the only model available for immediate delivery, and we'll put the £1500 saved towards the future upright fund.

She's super excited about the 300+ sounds, though, so I hope that she'll have fun with the CN39 if nothing else. Like Rick said, a future piano is a great carrot to dangle when a carrot is needed!

Phew. So relieved to have finally made a decision. Thank you all again so much for the advice.

Last edited by Isladele; 01/14/22 11:11 AM.
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Congratulations Isladele -- and Irenie -- for making a quick decision. Some people debate nuances endlessly on this forum and never actually make a purchase. And some never tell us what they end up doing!

The Kawai CN39 is a well-rounded piano and I doubt that you will be disappointed with it. The plan to make space for and buy an upright in the future is an excellent one. A few years ago, I went on a six-month odyssey to find an upgrade for my entry-level digital and ended up with an acoustic piano as well, in my case a grand.

All the best to Irenie on her piano adventure and to you, Isladele, for supporting her all the way!
Lotus
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Mozart: Sonata in D, K. 284, "Durnitz" on
Kawai GM-10 grand / Yamaha DGX-660 digital

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My best wishes to Irenie. I started playing a tad younger than her and I've never regretted it.

My advice is to always keep it fun and challenging - even if that means alternating between learning 'fun' and 'challenging' songs, whatever form that may take for you.

Last edited by steamrick; 01/14/22 12:44 PM.

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Quote
. . . I guess whichever digital we get is a compromise, so we think maybe the best idea is to make a long term plan to rearrange the living space downstairs and make room for a small music den with a good upright. In the meantime, we're going to order the CN39 as it's the only model available for immediate delivery, and we'll put the £1500 saved towards the future upright fund.

Good plan!

A motto for these situations:

. . . Any piano is better than "no piano".

Last edited by Charles Cohen; 01/14/22 03:50 PM.

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Originally Posted by Isladele
. . . I guess whichever digital we get is a compromise, so we think maybe the best idea is to make a long term plan to rearrange the living space downstairs and make room for a small music den with a good upright. In the meantime, we're going to order the CN39 as it's the only model available for immediate delivery, and we'll put the £1500 saved towards the future upright fund.

Yes! Great decisiveness, great decisions!

Cheers and the happiest learning/playing,

HZ

Originally Posted by [Isladele
Like Rick said, a future piano is a great carrot to dangle when a carrot is needed!

😄!!

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Congrats, but if you had explained better in your first post your kid's eagerness to learn, 100% if the replies would have been: "get whatever is available, and don't look back". You made the absolute right choice.

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Irenie says hi and thank you all for the good wishes. Unfortunately we've hit a small snag and the piano didn't arrive as scheduled. Since 6am on Saturday, every time the doorbell goes, a small hurricane hurtles down the stairs and starts bouncing. The bouncing hasn't stopped yet. Not sure horse tranquilizer would calm her down at this point. We ordered the next day courier service, so I called the dealer and got a lot of Covid-related apologetics and promises that they were doing all they could. I'm resisting the urge to lock myself in the greenhouse with the emergency bottle of Glenfiddich at this point. I'll save that in case (God Forbid) it doesn't show up later today. To add to the torment, the piano bench arrived yesterday. On its own! It's currently sitting in an immaculately cleaned bedroom in front of an as-yet-invisible piano. The puppy has decided it's a new bed and already chewed up one corner.

I'm off to brew some coffee and pray.🙏

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Hello,

Originally Posted by Isladele
Glenfiddich

Glenfiddich eh? Another quality choice 😋. Perhaps stealthily pour a sip or two into that coffee. Or, well, that may be a waste of a nice whisky after all.

Cheers and good luck in stormy anticipation,

HZ

PS I like your style of writing! 😀

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Originally Posted by Isladele
Irenie says hi and thank you all for the good wishes. Unfortunately we've hit a small snag and the piano didn't arrive as scheduled. Since 6am on Saturday, every time the doorbell goes, a small hurricane hurtles down the stairs and starts bouncing. The bouncing hasn't stopped yet. Not sure horse tranquilizer would calm her down at this point. We ordered the next day courier service, so I called the dealer and got a lot of Covid-related apologetics and promises that they were doing all they could. I'm resisting the urge to lock myself in the greenhouse with the emergency bottle of Glenfiddich at this point. I'll save that in case (God Forbid) it doesn't show up later today. To add to the torment, the piano bench arrived yesterday. On its own! It's currently sitting in an immaculately cleaned bedroom in front of an as-yet-invisible piano. The puppy has decided it's a new bed and already chewed up one corner.

I'm off to brew some coffee and pray.🙏

Please consider posting here more. You have a great, humorous way of presenting problems. Everyone can use that perspective.


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6 days ater ordering with "next day delivery' and still no piano.

We move to DEFCON 3.

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Yikes, that sucks.

When I ordered in january, the piano was at my front door less than 24 hours later. (I also paid for next-day because once I decided to commit, I also had no patience to wait...)

It's always disappointing when 'next day' turns out to take longer than that.

Last edited by steamrick; 01/20/22 01:12 PM.

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