Help me choose a piano for my 10-year old

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hmw
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Help me choose a piano for my 10-year old

Post by hmw »

My 10-year old son has been taking weekly piano lessons for about 2-3 years. He has been playing on a used upright acoustic piano my spouse bought from a friend of hers. A piano tuner came to our house today for a tuning. He told me that the piano is at least 40 -year old and is in bad shape. He wouldn't recommend putting more money into it.

So I am looking to buy a new one. My son is not an enthusiastic piano player but he states that he wants to continue to take lessons and play. He is currently at level 2b of Faber Piano Adventures.

I do not have any music talent and do not play any musical instrument myself.

I have decided that I will not buy a used one off craigslist.

Should I buy an upright acoustic piano or a digital piano? The piano tuner who also operates a piano store in town mentioned that he has a new acoustic upright piano priced at $4000. (BTW, he has a good reputation and I do believe that my old piano is beyond repair.)

I have done some reading. I think I am leaning towards a digital piano.

1. it is cheaper than an acoustic one.
2. No need for ongoing maintenance. That would save about $200 a year. It was also hard to book a piano tuner and I had to take my morning off work today.
3. There is a high likelihood that we will be moving in the next 2 years. Easier to move a digital piano than an acoustic piano?

Some people seem to think that the quality of the sound is better with an acoustic piano. Is it true? Should I stick with an acoustic piano for this reason?

Can you recommend a good quality digital piano? Any specific model? Can I just order it on line and have it delivered?

Thanks
Last edited by hmw on Tue Apr 27, 2021 10:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.
hi_there
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Re: Help me choose a piano for my 10-year old

Post by hi_there »

Hi. I understand the preference for a digital piano due to cost and logistical reasons, although I would definitely recommend eventually getting an acoustic piano if your son advances in piano lessons. The reason is that even the best digital pianos can't fully replicate the action of mechanical levers. This can create a skill disadvantage, and in my opinion, lowers the enjoyability of playing the instrument, which is important for long term success in music.

Sound quality, in my opinion, is only a secondary disadvantage compared to the synthetic action. Maybe it would be more important to someone with a more sensitive ear. I also have electric guitars - so maybe that makes me more ok with synthetically generated music.

I'm not the best or most talented musician, but did learn for 10 years (using acoustic piano), for what it's worth. I have a Casio digital piano now, for practicality reasons - do not own a home and move frequently. I did lots of research at the time and tried a bunch of Casio, Roland, Yamaha, and other models in stores. If I recall correctly, I chose the piano that I thought replicated mechanical action the best, even if imperfectly.

Anyway, I don't know what models are out nowadays, but there seem to be a lot more online reviews now than there were years ago. The people reviewing those pianos are probably going to be more informative and helpful than me about any specific model... I'm sure you can buy online too.
Last edited by hi_there on Tue Apr 27, 2021 10:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.
jt90505
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Re: Help me choose a piano for my 10-year old

Post by jt90505 »

We bought a used upright for a few hundred bucks, kids used it for a few years then moved on. Getting rid of the piano was a pain; multiple pianos offered for *free* on Nextdoor site. Finally someone took it off our hands, thankfully they paid the piano movers. In retrospect I wish we had gotten a digital piano, takes less space, easier to unload.

If your child is not enthusiastic I would think hard about spending $4K...if he stays with is and becomes serious you always have the option to purchase a higher quality piano. Especially if you may be moving.
texasdiver
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Re: Help me choose a piano for my 10-year old

Post by texasdiver »

I have two daughters ages 15 and 18 that are approaching their 11th and 13th years of playing piano, respectively.

We bought a decent digital Kawai way back when they were young and it still serves them perfectly. I think we have this model (or it's predecessor): https://kawaius.com/product/ca59/

As long as you get a decent digital with property weighted keys your child will be just fine and very unlikely to ever outgrow it.

BTW, upright acoustic and grand pianos also have different actions so if you really truly want to accommodate a budding virtuoso you need to buy a grand piano which is a whole different investment in space and money.
RetiredCSProf
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Re: Help me choose a piano for my 10-year old

Post by RetiredCSProf »

I have been playing piano (for fun) for over 60 years. I have never played a digital piano and cannot imagine that it would give the same feel as an acoustic piano. OTOH, I don't think that you need to purchase a brand new piano.

Is your son's piano teacher willing to go piano shopping with you? Sometimes, I see decent used pianos available at a reasonable cost on the NextDoor app.

I own 2 pianos -- the first one my parents purchased for me 50 years ago. It is a Baldwin Acrosonic spinet. My parents paid $400 for it, used, from a family whose children had lost interest in playing. It would still be fine for a beginner student. It holds it's tune well. I would look for either a used spinet or upright and choose something that fits reasonably well with the decor in your home.

Sometimes colleges and piano studios have used instruments for sale when they update.
novillero
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Re: Help me choose a piano for my 10-year old

Post by novillero »

Our local piano store sells used acoustics, with the option of trading up in (I think) 2 years time. If you trade up, you get almost full credit on the used piano purchase towards the new one.
willinghamt19
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Re: Help me choose a piano for my 10-year old

Post by willinghamt19 »

hmw wrote: Tue Apr 27, 2021 9:46 pm My 10-year old son has been taking weekly piano lessons for about 2-3 years. He has been playing on a used upright acoustic piano my spouse bought from a friend of hers. A piano tuner came to our house today for a tuning. He told me that the piano is at least 40 -year old and is in bad shape. He wouldn't recommend putting more money into it.

So I am looking to buy a new one. My son is not an enthusiastic piano player but he states that he wants to continue to take lessons and play. He is currently at level 2b of Faber Piano Adventures.

I do not have any music talent and do not play any musical instrument myself.

I have decided that I will not buy a used one off craigslist.

Should I buy an upright acoustic piano or a digital piano? The piano tuner who also operates a piano store in town mentioned that he has a new acoustic upright piano priced at $4000. (BTW, he has a good reputation and I do believe that my old piano is beyond repair.)

I have done some reading. I think I am leaning towards to a digital piano.

1. it is cheaper than an acoustic one.
2. No need for ongoing maintenance. That would save about $200 a year. It was also hard to book a piano tuner and I had to take my morning off work today.
3. There is a high likelihood that we will be moving in the next 2 years. Easier to move a digital piano than an acoustic piano?

Some people seem to think that the quality of the sound is better with an acoustic piano. Is it true? Should I stick with an acoustic piano for this reason?

Can you recommend a good quality digital piano? Any specific model? Can I just order it on line and have it delivered?

Thanks
I’m a pianist/keyboardist who has played in many bands/combos (mostly blues and jazz) when my day job doesn’t get in the way too much. Like your son I took lessons when young and was never an enthusiastic learner. I even stopped playing for a few years before coming back to it. Since reentering the world of music, playing has brought me immense joy.

While a digital piano will never feel like an upright or grand, they can come reasonably close with regards to key weight (the most important item for feel). Unless your son is playing classical music in a fairly competitive setting, the skill loss from a digital should be minimal (in other music forms harmonic chops, rhythm, and melodic creativity are far more important than feel). The other advantage of a digital is they can open your son up to a variety of sounds and rhythms. Just having an instrument which can keep time or play a simple mid tempo swing drum track can open up a pianist to a new world of improvisation. Most come with hundreds of preset voices, dozens of drum tracks, and some more complicated features too. A digital can often be transported to play with others as well.

With regards to sound quality, the difference between a digital and acoustic is often minimal, and a digital can occasionally sound far better. Good digital pianos, stage pianos, or digital keyboards take high quality samples from usually very expensive grand pianos in excellent condition. The quality of the sample for the digital piano is at least as good as a CD track of that same piano. A slightly out of tune acoustic will sound worse than its digital counterpart. Additionally amplification, equalization, and added reverb (to suit the room in which the digital piano is played) can create a more rich timbre than even a properly tuned acoustic piano could create (there’s a reason a concert pianist plays in a hall specially designed for the timbre of their instrument).

If you go this route, I would strongly recommend something in the Yamaha YPG series like a YPG-635 (~$800). The keys have excellent weighting and the keyboard has enough versatility in the sounds it makes to be fun without being overly complicated. It also comes with ok built in speakers and can be easily run through an amplifier (maybe a Peavy KB1 would suit a beginner) if needed. I practiced on one of these when I was younger and felt that the keys had better feel than my Kawai upright piano. In total, you could probably get the keyboard+stand, a good bench to sit at when playing, a sustain pedal, a 15W amplifier, and a pair of good over ear headphones (so your son can still practice without you having to hear him play) for around $1,000. After this price level, I truly believe that quality gains in the product are pretty minimal to nonexistent for your sons purposes. Of course, if your son wanted to play in a band years down the road, something like a Nord Stage 2 keyboard for $4,000 would be appropriate (the key feel would be worse on this, but the quality and flexibility of tone is amazing).

If your son is interested primarily in classical though, a form of playing which I have far less experience in, feel and technique is the most important thing, and there’s no substitute for real keys. In this case, I would strongly consider a nice upright or even a baby grand. Otherwise, if your son is just playing the instrument more generally with less direction, a digital likely suits your needs better.

Hope this helps, and I wish your son a wonderful life of musical exploration!
Last edited by willinghamt19 on Tue Apr 27, 2021 11:05 pm, edited 8 times in total.
MiddleOfTheRoad
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Re: Help me choose a piano for my 10-year old

Post by MiddleOfTheRoad »

Look into hybrid digital piano. Kawai CA79 or Yamaha equivalence. Probably around 4k. You can probably buy a model a couple of notches down on their product lineup as well. Look on pianoworld.com forum and look for the recent prices paid on that model. Real acoustic action with hammer and the whole bit. Good luck.
treesinthewind
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Re: Help me choose a piano for my 10-year old

Post by treesinthewind »

Our tween started taking lessons on a digital piano with weighted keys, then a neighbor gave us an old upright. They still use the digital piano to mess around but much prefer the traditional piano for practicing and has made much more rapid progress using it instead of the digital piano. But this is a kid who truly loves making music. I've never tried one of these $4k hybrid pianos discussed above but your child should try playing on whatever you are considering before you purchase. My kid knows right away if they like playing a given piano or not.

And it sounds like you trust the tuner but maybe get a second opinion. Seems a little suspect to inspect something, deem it irreparable, and offer to sell a replacement. Our free piano is from the 1950s but tuned up great. It's not a grand piano but it sounds great after it was tuned.
GmanJeff
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Re: Help me choose a piano for my 10-year old

Post by GmanJeff »

Digital keyboards will weigh much less and be easier to move, and many can provide non-piano keyboard sounds which add variety and fun to playing, e.g., organ, string, synthesizer sounds. That capability can support potential opportunities to later play in a band with others, providing instrumental sounds in addition to traditional pianos. They can also be operated silently, with the student using headphones to monitor themselves, an advantage when others in the house don't want to hear the piano.

As others have noted, conventional acoustic pianos are a glut on the market, except perhaps for a few highly regarded and very expensive brands like Steinway, Bechstein, and Bosendorfer. Most other brands can be difficult to even give away when no longer wanted, because they take up a lot of space, are difficult to move, require periodic tuning, and are unusable for performance outside the home.

Well-regarded brands with models at different price points include Nord, Yamaha, Roland, and Korg.
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TinyElvis
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Re: Help me choose a piano for my 10-year old

Post by TinyElvis »

Or.. you can get a MIDI keyboard, an audio interface, a pair of powered monitors, some recording software, and let his creative juices flow.
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harland
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Re: Help me choose a piano for my 10-year old

Post by harland »

My kids took piano lessons at a music store for a little while. I got to try out a Yamaha Arius (YDP-184, I think) which I thought felt very close to real. I think there were Roland digital pianos in the practice rooms.

We currently have a Kawai upright (UST-7) that I practiced on as a kid. It's survived two moves and still plays and sounds nice. I think I read somewhere that this particular model is in the 'Insitutional' series so was meant to be a workhorse. Might be a model to consider if you want to go the non-digital route.

If we didn't already have an acoustic piano available, I think we would've bought a good digital one. More convenient and less expensive.
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finite_difference
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Re: Help me choose a piano for my 10-year old

Post by finite_difference »

I recommend:

-For entry-level, Yamaha upright M500 (approx $1200 used in excellent condition.)
-For enthusiast-level, Yamaha upright U1 (approx $2400 used in excellent condition.)

Add $300 moving fees and $100 for an expert tuner.
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acepedro45
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Re: Help me choose a piano for my 10-year old

Post by acepedro45 »

For someone with 2-3 years of learning under his belt, the choice is clearly a digital piano over an acoustic. No tunings, headphones so parents don't go crazy, easy to move to a gig temporarily or to a new permanent home, and holds better resale value (percentage wise). Most decent ones will record and play music back, which is helpful developmentally.

The Yamaha P-125 is a fine choice and pretty budget friendly. Others have mentioned Roland, Casio, Kawaii (don't care for Casios myself but obviously some people like them). You might have your son demo a few in a store and see what he likes the best. He can also get a feel for the bells and whistles they might offer in terms of other voices and computer accompaniment. willinghamt19 had an excellent post that I agree with almost entirely.

You can save half or more by going used, but that requires a lot of hunting and even if you are willing to put up with the frustration, you as a non-musician might not have the ability to discern a good buy from trash. So I support the eschew Craigslist philosophy in your case.

It will take many years of practice until the shortcomings of a good digital piano even become detectable to a beginner. Make SURE whatever you get includes a sustain pedal and a music stand to hold books. A bench would be nice too.

The overwhelming reality is that your son will lose probably interest somewhere along the line long before you need an acoustic piano to further his development. Even if he doesn't and you eventually add a fancy home acoustic piano, it is still good to have a high quality digital keyboard around for gigs, late night practice, and trucking off to college.
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Re: Help me choose a piano for my 10-year old

Post by Jack FFR1846 »

A big advantage of an electronic keyboard parallels the advantage of a solid body electric guitar with an audio interface. One can practice with very little disruptive noise to others. Same with electronic drums. In our house, one son is extremely sensitive to noise and someone banging away on an acoustic piano, acoustic guitar or "real" drums would have driven him crazy.

I'm a guitarist and played in bands where we did entirely new material every week, so I was practicing late into most nights. I could do this with my Music Man guitar plugged into a digitech processor, going to my headphones. Someone on an electric piano can do this too.
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F150HD
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Re: Help me choose a piano for my 10-year old

Post by F150HD »

on Craigslist and FBook marketplace most people cannot give away a piano. Some are nice, they just sit unused.

IMO worth a look to see what you find.
squirm
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Re: Help me choose a piano for my 10-year old

Post by squirm »

F150HD wrote: Wed Apr 28, 2021 2:48 pm on Craigslist and FBook marketplace most people cannot give away a piano. Some are nice, they just sit unused.

IMO worth a look to see what you find.
Yes, my fil was given a nice upright which he took apart for fun. Obviously the reason is simple, parents buy kids new piano, kids lose interest and piano becomes a coat rack. Happened in our family too.
getthatmarshmallow
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Re: Help me choose a piano for my 10-year old

Post by getthatmarshmallow »

I have a strong personal preference for acoustic pianos, and when faced with this decision three years ago (my kid is about your kid's level, but I also play) we bought an upright. That said, digital pianos are undoubtedly more convenient, especially as you're planning to move in two years.

I've personally played a Yamaha Clavinova and it was pretty impressive, but I'm posting to recommend that you head over to pianobuyer.com and read their reviews and research. Probably something like a Yamaha P-125 would be more than adequate as he is learning.

I would recommend against buying a Craigslist piano or obtaining a free piano, especially a spinet. One can find good deals -- but spinets can be hard to repair, and you likely will have a hard time telling whether the out-of-tune piano the family is trying to unload is going to need a simple tune or a pitch raise and repairs. And you'll have to pay to move it -- so you'll be a few hundred dollars in before you find out that you are in the same situation you have now.
steadierfooting
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Re: Help me choose a piano for my 10-year old

Post by steadierfooting »

My 7 year old twins have been taking lessons for 2 years. I also have been. We started our on a entry level digital piano (yamaha p-125 $600). We upgraded to a better digital Yamaha Clavinova CLP 745 $3500). While at the piano store I tried out many pianos. I loves the sound of the acoustics, especially the Yamaha B3 with silent system (about $8000). However, I knew that it would just be too loud in our house. I made the right choice for me though, and love my Clavinova.

I would say most people go digital when you want to practice quietly. If you don't mind the noise from him playing then keep acoustic. If he has to schedule his time around quiet times, then digital is probably the way to go. It also is easier to resell since it's easy to get out of the house.
Allixi
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Re: Help me choose a piano for my 10-year old

Post by Allixi »

Another vote for digital piano. I have a Yamaha P-120 that’s 15 years old and still perfectly adequate for casual playing. Headphones mean I can play it in late hours without disturbing the rest of the house.

I will say that when I tried to change out one of the keys (that was sticking) it was a LOT harder than the Youtube videos make it out to me. Servicing for electric keyboards might be just as hard (if not harder) than an acoustic one.
virgingorda
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Re: Help me choose a piano for my 10-year old

Post by virgingorda »

Bought my young adult son a Casio 88 key digital piano a couple of years ago and he LOVES it. He's moved between several homes and apartments and has been able to fairly easily bring it along. The acoustic upright he learned on starting at age 8 is unfortunately no longer tunable and is a big hulking mass in our house. Looks cool, but doesn't sound cool. Don't underestimate what a modern digital piano can do in terms of feel and sound.
Arabesque
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Re: Help me choose a piano for my 10-year old

Post by Arabesque »

Here is a better forum for piano information: http://forum.pianoworld.com

Here is my experience with pianos: I was given an old upright by a musician with too many pianos. My older child learned on it, but stopped playing somewhere in the transition from beginner to intermediate, around 10 or 12 y.o.. I think this is a common place where piano students quit. So I gave the old upright to a neighbor, who ultimately junked it.

When my younger child expressed interest in first grade, I bought a digital piano cheap ($600). She proved to be quite serious and planned up to college. When I decided it was time to upgrade, I was referred to a Yamaha baby grand that owners were unable to sell. I bought it for $4000, which seemed a great price. Eight to ten years later, when she was going to college and I was downsizing, I couldn't sell it for $1000. One of the more serious prospects had heard they were hard to get rid of and in the end bought a Digital. I gave it to a friend (in 2020). There are more pianos out there than students.
gtd98765
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Re: Help me choose a piano for my 10-year old

Post by gtd98765 »

The Wirecutter has several articles reviewing digital pianos. Here's one: https://www.nytimes.com/wirecutter/revi ... -students/

I would not buy a real piano for a 10-year-old student who might decide s/he likes something different at any time. Electronic is the way to go. If the kid is serious and continues for another five years, then you can think about getting a traditional piano, with the advice of a piano technician.
telecaster
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Re: Help me choose a piano for my 10-year old

Post by telecaster »

I highly suggest an acoustic piano. Digital is cheaper and more convenient for sure, but the sound, feel, and experience / joy of playing the real thing is unmatched.

I have three acoustics is my house, and one expensive digital piano I use for live performances. I enjoy playing the crappiest of my acoustics 100x more than my several thousand dollar digital one. ( and the crappy acoustic is a free Craigslist beater)
Edify
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Re: Help me choose a piano for my 10-year old

Post by Edify »

There are sites where people look to give away piano.Y

You may want to take a peek at: https://pianoadoption.com/free-pianos/

Here is a description of the site on its home page:

"Piano Adoption is the first and largest free piano classified website! We are a free site where you can find a home for your unused free piano, free digital pianos, and free electric keyboards. Give the gift of music to a family in search of a free piano or an institution such as a church, school or retirement home in need of a free piano, digital piano, or keyboard. For every piano that is unwanted or no longer used, there may be dozens of potential recipients in your area looking for a free piano. Piano Adoption is dedicated to finding a new home for all serviceable, free pianos before they end up disposed of in the local landfill."

Another site with a very similar URL is https://pianoadoptions.com/

Happy browsing!
Impromptu
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Re: Help me choose a piano for my 10-year old

Post by Impromptu »

A cheap acoustic is worse than a moderately decent digital piano. Worse for finger touch. Feel. Sound. Harmonics. Digital pianos, even moderate ones, are better in all of those areas.

I have some decent piano skills. My old piano's soundboard cracked, so I needed a new piano. I did my research two years ago and went with a Roland FP 10 with a furniture stand. Why? Roland uses the same awesome sound production program on all of its pianos, not just the most expensive ones. The keys are weighted very nicely. The main difference in prices was the number of other instrument voices and the watts of the speakers. The lower wattage speakers are perfect for a single room to play in. You only need the higher wattage ones if you want it his piano practice to fill the whole house (no thank-you). The low wattage one sounds really good. If your son practices with headphones, then the watts won't matter, as it will sound just like their top of the line one. Clavinova and others do not do that.

If you want a Clavinova, you can get the top of the line one. Or a top of the line Roland or Casio. I finally decided that I was mostly interested in those most of expensive ones because of ego. Go with what is practical. At this stage in his development, a decent digital keyboard, like a Roland FP-10 for $500 is perfect.
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hmw
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Re: Help me choose a piano for my 10-year old

Post by hmw »

OP here.

I've decided to buy a digital piano. Budget is between $1000 to $2000.

Thanks for the wirecutter link. https://www.nytimes.com/wirecutter/revi ... -students/

The top 2 choices as recommended by wirecutter are Yamaha Arius YDP-181, and Roland RP501R. They seem to be out stock.

I checked https://www.kraftmusic.com/digital-pianos-and-keyboards, which has too large a selection. I don't even know where to begin.

I also checked out Costco, which has a small selection. It has three Roalands which understand that it is a good brand.

https://www.costco.com/CatalogSearch?ke ... ttr-Roland

I think I will buy either Roland RCP-800 for $1900, or Roland RP-500 for $1500.

Any opinions on these two Rolands?

Thanks
rebellovw
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Re: Help me choose a piano for my 10-year old

Post by rebellovw »

I'd get a 500.00 or so Yamaha. I have a very nice P125 I believe it is. well reviewed and loved by many. Sweetwater or Musicians Friend is where I picked it up - along with a nice stand/table for it to sit on.
mdavis6890
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Re: Help me choose a piano for my 10-year old

Post by mdavis6890 »

https://www.pianodreamers.com/

My kids and I are all learning the piano, levels in the range of your child (prep-5 for us). One of my kids is in the same 2B Faber book.

1. Don't think that this has to be THE piano - it's totally fine to get something now and then upgrade a few more times. Digital pianos hold their value like crazy and go super-quick on Craigslist if you want to sell. I've already been through several upgrades already myself. Currently I have an Arius 162 and a P-515. They're both great and will last several more years at least.
2. Digital has all the advantages for you at this stage. The difference in action/sound between a good digital and an acoustic will most certainly not hold your son back.

There's a bit of a supply issue on the decent digitals right now (Arius, Clavinova, etc - I was leaning toward the 181 myself, but couldn't find one). Instead you might have good luck finding a P-515 as I did. That's the "portable" line from Yamaha, but this particular model is at the top, and nothing like the others. It's much closer to a Clavinova in action and sound, and costs about half as much. What you don't get is a nice piece of furniture and a bit better speakers. Make sure to get the matching Yamaha branded stand and 3-pedal module for it. I was $2000 all-in, including the matching bench as well. With those to go with it you'll be in great shape.

Also, I super-strongly recommend that you try learning along with your son. It's a great time, and you don't have to take it too seriously - but you might surprise yourself. I'm just now learning Tears in Heaven and I'm itching to practice (this is why we have two pianos - we were fighting over just one). You can start with the Faber Adult Piano Adventures series, and check out Bach Scholar on Youtube. I'm about at the level where I can play some of the teacher duets in the Faber kids books too, which is pretty cool.

Have fun!
AnEngineer
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Re: Help me choose a piano for my 10-year old

Post by AnEngineer »

MiddleOfTheRoad wrote: Tue Apr 27, 2021 10:42 pm Look into hybrid digital piano. Kawai CA79 or Yamaha equivalence. Probably around 4k. You can probably buy a model a couple of notches down on their product lineup as well. Look on pianoworld.com forum and look for the recent prices paid on that model. Real acoustic action with hammer and the whole bit. Good luck.
A real hybrid, like the Yamaha Avantgrand line, is going to be at least $8k. These have the same keys and action as a grand piano, but a digital backend. For serious players and those for whom tuning is an issue, these make sense, but not for OPs scenario I think.
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Ricchan
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Re: Help me choose a piano for my 10-year old

Post by Ricchan »

I'm late to the conversation, as it seems the OP has already decided on a Roland digital piano. I've never played on the two mentioned, but I have played on other Rolands and have been pleased. I believe they are a well respected maker of digital pianos.

I will say that while digital pianos have made great improvements in recent history, I think it is still helpful to learn on an acoustic piano if you ever plan to own or play on an acoustic piano long term in the future. There are subtle nuances to physical keys, hammers, strings, pedal mechanics, and the way the sound resonates in the instrument that can't be replicated with digital pianos. That's not to say one can't learn on a digital now and explore acoustic grands later. Just be aware of the differences you'll encounter if you ever switch in the future.

P.S. Not sure how deep down the rabbit hole you want to go with digital pianos, but if you are adventurous, perhaps look into VSTs for more realism/variety in sound (I use Synthogy Ivory), along with the hardware required to run them. Will be a bit technical and pricey, so fair warning.
Topic Author
hmw
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Re: Help me choose a piano for my 10-year old

Post by hmw »

OP here.

I was all set to buy a digital piano until I talked to my son's piano teacher. She was very much against digital piano because she likes the physical keys.

I causally looked on the local re-sale market place for a used acoustic piano. We don't live in a large city so the picking is rather slim. They all look like junks even to my amateur's eyes.

So we visited the only local piano store today. The prices range from $5000 to $120,000. :shock:

I am sticking to upright pianos. The prices ranges from $5000 to $15,000. The brands are mostly Kawai plus a couple of Knabe.

My son played on all the upright pianos. The one he liked the most is a $10,500 Kawai and the $5000 Kawai was 2nd. He didn't like the $8000 Kawai for whatever reason.

My questions are:

1. I will probably will end up buying the $10,500 one. Is the listed prices negotiable at a retail store? If yes, what kinds of discount can I expect? This is the only local piano store. So there is not a lot of competition.

2. I express some concerns about my son losing interests and I will have sell the piano in a couple of years. Also it is very likely that we will move in 2 years. The piano store offered that they would buy the piano back at 70% of the sale price in 2 years. Is this a fair deal?

3. If my son continues to play, then will move the piano to a new city. Is moving a upright piano a major pain? Approximate cost of moving?

4. Anything else I am missing?

Thanks!
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leeks
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Re: Help me choose a piano for my 10-year old

Post by leeks »

hmw wrote: Sat May 08, 2021 6:47 pm OP here.

I was all set to buy a digital piano until I talked to my son's piano teacher. She was very much against digital piano because she likes the physical keys.

I causally looked on the local re-sale market place for a used acoustic piano. We don't live in a large city so the picking is rather slim. They all look like junks even to my amateur's eyes.

So we visited the only local piano store today. The prices range from $5000 to $120,000. :shock:

I am sticking to upright pianos. The prices ranges from $5000 to $15,000. The brands are mostly Kawai plus a couple of Knabe.

My son played on all the upright pianos. The one he liked the most is a $10,500 Kawai and the $5000 Kawai was 2nd. He didn't like the $8000 Kawai for whatever reason.

My questions are:

1. I will probably will end up buying the $10,500 one. Is the listed prices negotiable at a retail store? If yes, what kinds of discount can I expect? This is the only local piano store. So there is not a lot of competition.

2. I express some concerns about my son losing interests and I will have sell the piano in a couple of years. Also it is very likely that we will move in 2 years. The piano store offered that they would buy the piano back at 70% of the sale price in 2 years. Is this a fair deal?

3. If my son continues to play, then will move the piano to a new city. Is moving a upright piano a major pain? Approximate cost of moving?

4. Anything else I am missing?

Thanks!
I wouldn't restrict your search to the only store in town. You can try calling around to other piano stores within a few hours of your city. If any of them happen to have the same brand used, it would be worth the transportation logistics if you can save thousands of dollars.
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hmw
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Re: Help me choose a piano for my 10-year old

Post by hmw »

The two pianos under consideration are

Kawai K300 and Kawai K15.

Anyone has any opinion about either one?

Thanks
Starfox
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Re: Help me choose a piano for my 10-year old

Post by Starfox »

We rented from kawai authorized dealer a brand new k200 for $85/month with no minimum months required. $325 prepaid delivery and pickup.
Was enjoyable while we had it. Just under two years we called and they picked it up.
AnEngineer
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Re: Help me choose a piano for my 10-year old

Post by AnEngineer »

hmw wrote: Sat May 08, 2021 6:47 pm OP here.

I was all set to buy a digital piano until I talked to my son's piano teacher. She was very much against digital piano because she likes the physical keys.

I causally looked on the local re-sale market place for a used acoustic piano. We don't live in a large city so the picking is rather slim. They all look like junks even to my amateur's eyes.

So we visited the only local piano store today. The prices range from $5000 to $120,000. :shock:

I am sticking to upright pianos. The prices ranges from $5000 to $15,000. The brands are mostly Kawai plus a couple of Knabe.

My son played on all the upright pianos. The one he liked the most is a $10,500 Kawai and the $5000 Kawai was 2nd. He didn't like the $8000 Kawai for whatever reason.

My questions are:

1. I will probably will end up buying the $10,500 one. Is the listed prices negotiable at a retail store? If yes, what kinds of discount can I expect? This is the only local piano store. So there is not a lot of competition.

2. I express some concerns about my son losing interests and I will have sell the piano in a couple of years. Also it is very likely that we will move in 2 years. The piano store offered that they would buy the piano back at 70% of the sale price in 2 years. Is this a fair deal?

3. If my son continues to play, then will move the piano to a new city. Is moving a upright piano a major pain? Approximate cost of moving?

4. Anything else I am missing?

Thanks!
In this price range, I'd seriously consider a hybrid. They have real physical keys as requested, digital features and no tuning. Especially try with headphones.

You may be able to negotiate, especially if there's some connection (e.g. music teacher) or you pay cash. Just ask what they can do on price.
MiddleOfTheRoad
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Re: Help me choose a piano for my 10-year old

Post by MiddleOfTheRoad »

AnEngineer wrote: Sat May 08, 2021 10:32 pm
hmw wrote: Sat May 08, 2021 6:47 pm OP here.

I was all set to buy a digital piano until I talked to my son's piano teacher. She was very much against digital piano because she likes the physical keys.

I causally looked on the local re-sale market place for a used acoustic piano. We don't live in a large city so the picking is rather slim. They all look like junks even to my amateur's eyes.

So we visited the only local piano store today. The prices range from $5000 to $120,000. :shock:

I am sticking to upright pianos. The prices ranges from $5000 to $15,000. The brands are mostly Kawai plus a couple of Knabe.

My son played on all the upright pianos. The one he liked the most is a $10,500 Kawai and the $5000 Kawai was 2nd. He didn't like the $8000 Kawai for whatever reason.

My questions are:

1. I will probably will end up buying the $10,500 one. Is the listed prices negotiable at a retail store? If yes, what kinds of discount can I expect? This is the only local piano store. So there is not a lot of competition.

2. I express some concerns about my son losing interests and I will have sell the piano in a couple of years. Also it is very likely that we will move in 2 years. The piano store offered that they would buy the piano back at 70% of the sale price in 2 years. Is this a fair deal?

3. If my son continues to play, then will move the piano to a new city. Is moving a upright piano a major pain? Approximate cost of moving?

4. Anything else I am missing?

Thanks!
In this price range, I'd seriously consider a hybrid. They have real physical keys as requested, digital features and no tuning. Especially try with headphones.

You may be able to negotiate, especially if there's some connection (e.g. music teacher) or you pay cash. Just ask what they can do on price.
Ha, you are coming around. :D 8-)
OP, if you like Kawai, the NV5 or NV10 are their current hybrid offering. You can even buy it online.
rascott
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Re: Help me choose a piano for my 10-year old

Post by rascott »

hmw wrote: Sat May 08, 2021 10:10 pm The two pianos under consideration are

Kawai K300 and Kawai K15.

Anyone has any opinion about either one?

Thanks
You are going to buy a $10k piano for a 10 year old that's only mildly interested? Because the teacher said so?

That's silly. The $1k-1500 digital pianos are totally legitimate for someone of that age. If in 5 years from now, the child is still serious about it.... then you can upgrade.

I grew up with acoustic pianos that were a lot worse than the current digital ones. Odds favor the child will lose interest. If they don't, then reassess. They will not fall behind using a quality digital piano.
Kagord
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Re: Help me choose a piano for my 10-year old

Post by Kagord »

The subtle nuances of learning how to play a piano properly requires a real piano and this is why piano teachers will usually push for a real piano. I've heard too many times how great a digital piano with x brand action and terrabyte samples from a X $1,000,000 piano sitting in some music hall, and always chuckle silently as it's a debate that's hard to win with someone who isn't classically trained. A serious student will get frustrated at home with a digital piano as they won't be able to hear/mimic what they are taught. A digital piano has it's place though, I have quite a few, and I enjoy them as well.

But, in this case, a child with mild interest, don't waste your money, get a digital piano with piano action, used if you can. If your child gets more serious, like one of mine did (now in a conservatory school), you have to buy a real piano.
Arabesque
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Re: Help me choose a piano for my 10-year old

Post by Arabesque »

I vote for a digital. The weighted keys are adequate for most learners. Remember the piano teacher hopes to teach a classical pianist who goes on to a conservatory and a life of music. The odds of that are tiny. Most learners want to play pop, rock, or jazz. Actually most learners quit before high school.

My two didn't quit instruments, but honestly as far as I can tell, neither played another note after high school, and one even played two instruments (piano and viola) well after huge time and money. The culture has changed.

Low key and fun are the way to go. A digital keyboard has all sorts of sound effects that are good for motivation.
Last edited by Arabesque on Mon May 10, 2021 5:19 am, edited 1 time in total.
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gr7070
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Re: Help me choose a piano for my 10-year old

Post by gr7070 »

We have a digital. Was under $1k. For a ten year old is a lot of piano.

My lifelong playing, piano teacher, expensive upright owning mother was even impressed by it.

Hard to beat the value in an electric piano.
Paradise
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Re: Help me choose a piano for my 10-year old

Post by Paradise »

As someone who has played piano for over 30 years, Go with the upright if you are interested at all in the child learning the correct technique.

You can buy and play a digital piano well... after you’ve learned how to play correctly. The weight of the keys and mechanics alone is crucial in learning timing. It’s such a sensitive thing that you often have to “relearn” a song that you know well on the piano on a digital piano. The entire world still uses real pianos. It’s training on an inferior piece of equipment.

I would get a used upright until he shows interest and dedication. Even if it looks like junk, with the proper tuning and polish can be restored. Later, you can think about something nice. I just don’t want you to buy a $4,000 piece of furniture.
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jimmyq
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Re: Help me choose a piano for my 10-year old

Post by jimmyq »

hmw wrote: Sat May 08, 2021 10:10 pm The two pianos under consideration are

Kawai K300 and Kawai K15.

Anyone has any opinion about either one?
The K300 is from Kwai's professional line, has a larger soundboard, and is made in Japan. The K15 is one of their lower cost pianos, and is made in Indonesia. I don't have any direct experience with either of these, but based on the specs and manufacturing location, the K300 is clearly the better better piano and would be my first choice. I'm sure it's more expensive, but it will likely hold it's value better, too.
mr_brightside
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Re: Help me choose a piano for my 10-year old

Post by mr_brightside »

personal experience. daughter was a fantastic piano player. played numerous recitals well above her 'age'. could play 'mini concerts' for friends and relatives...

we got her a quality Yamaha keyboard. go to a well-run music store where they have many models to choose from and try out. don't just buy something random off amazon because as mentioed there is a HUGE difference in the various models. but some are really good.

then one day as she aged (young teens) ... completely lost interest.

we are SO glad we didn't go the 'real piano' route. (they are next to impossible to dispose of I've heard)

good luck --

---------------------------------------
constant
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Re: Help me choose a piano for my 10-year old

Post by constant »

Digital piano 100%. Something like the Yamaha P515 / 125 will be just fine and much easier to move. There is already a huge variation on piano action between pianos, especially upright and grand. It is normal to learn to adjust to different instruments.
SimonJester
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Re: Help me choose a piano for my 10-year old

Post by SimonJester »

My vote get the Digital piano and keep your current upright. How bad out of tune is it? My youngest is currently in college in a music program and we have done just that. He has a digital piano he uses (which he took to his dorm) and also uses our upright acoustic which hasn't been tuned in 20 years. Probably in a similar shape as the OP.

I agree with the other posting, when you get to a professional level of play you will learn to adapt to whatever instrument you pick up...

And as other have pointed out kids interests change sometimes in the matter of days / weeks....
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finite_difference
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Re: Help me choose a piano for my 10-year old

Post by finite_difference »

hmw wrote: Sat May 08, 2021 10:10 pm The two pianos under consideration are

Kawai K300 and Kawai K15.

Anyone has any opinion about either one?

Thanks
I recommend a used Yamaha U1 in great condition. You’ll save thousands and it’s a very good piano.
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FactualFran
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Re: Help me choose a piano for my 10-year old

Post by FactualFran »

hmw wrote: Sat May 08, 2021 6:47 pm I was all set to buy a digital piano until I talked to my son's piano teacher. She was very much against digital piano because she likes the physical keys.
Has your son's piano teacher played the digital pianos you listed in a previous post as recommended choices (Yamaha Arius YDP-181 and Roland RP501R) or different models of the same brand that have the same keyboard action?

You mentioned that you don't live in a large city. Is it large enough to have more than one piano teacher who would be a good one for your son?

Consider taking a trip to piano stores other than the one local store. Especially if those other stores have the recommended choices available for your son to try.
getthatmarshmallow
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Re: Help me choose a piano for my 10-year old

Post by getthatmarshmallow »

Of the two, the Kawai 300 would be my choice. I suspect you can probably do better on price -- at least I seem to recall the K300 being $7-8K here when I was looking 3 years ago.

But I wouldn't be buying yet. When I bought our upright (Brodmann PE132V) I visited nearly every piano store in a 100 mile radius. You seem to be in the market for a 48" upright (ish) -- every major brand makes one, and someone somewhere will have one that your kid likes -- and if you willing to go up to $10K, a consignment Yamaha or Steinway just might be out there for you.
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hmw
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Re: Help me choose a piano for my 10-year old

Post by hmw »

OP here,

I am getting two different opinions. The majority here think that a 10-year old can do fine with a digital piano and can always get a better acoustic one in a few years if he continues to show interest.

A minority here including my son's piano's teacher, think that the action of an acoustic piano can't be replicated.

My son has been learning piano for 2.5 years. When asked, he states that he likes it and wants to continue. If left un-prompted, he would "forget" to practice for days because there are just so many more interesting things to do on his ipad/laptop :). His teacher told me that he is no longer an entry level player, but more of an intermediate player. I am not under any illusion that he will ever be a professional musician.

We live in the middle of nowhere. There is another medium sized city 2 hours away that has a couple of piano stores. Major metros that would have multiple piano stores are about 5 hours away. I am definitely not interested in driving 5 hours to shop for a piano.

Local secondary market has very slim pickings due to the size of the city we are living in.

I am going back and forth between getting a digital vs an acoustic piano. Current choices are

1. digital, Roland RP501R. Purely based on wirecutter recommendation. My son has never played on a digital piano before. The local piano store does not carry any digital ones. I think some local music/guitar stores may have some keyboards but not necessarily Roland or Yamaha Arius YDP-181 (the other wirecutter recommendation). Cost is about $1500. Maybe I should get DS to try a digital one. But the digital ones at local guitar stores appear to be quite inexpensive and likely not nearly as good as a $1500 Roland.

2. Kawai K15 upright, console size, acoustic, listed for about $5000 at the local piano store

3. Kawai K300, acoustic, listed for $10,500 at the local piano store. I can afford to spend $10k. But the idea of getting such expensive piano for a 10-year old gives me pause.

decisions... decisions...
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