Newbie unsure and about to commit to an instrument!

Questions on learning to play the piano, and piano music.

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Droo
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Newbie unsure and about to commit to an instrument!

Post by Droo » 12 Feb 2009, 10:22

Hello!

I'm sure you get blow-in's around these parts regularly, and I'm sorry if this question has been asked before. But I started taking piano lessons a couple of weeks ago now, and by the teachers recommendation I didn't commit to buying an instrument before seeing whether or not I was comfortable playing, and whether I would want to continue after the first couple of weeks. Being an adult learner (25) this seemed to make sense, so I've held off.

Well, as it turns out, I'm doing quite well (apparently) I'm flying through the first grade 1 book at quite a pace, and now comes the time to pick an instrument to start practicing on at home: I can't buy an upright - well, I'm still not willing to commit to the level of basically buying an expensive piece of furniture until I've been at this for at least a year or two - and hopefully have a grade or two under my belt.

Anyway, at first I was going to just buy a cheapish Keyboard - something like a Yamaha Ypt-200 electric keyboard, but it seems a little 'too cheap' (£70 on amazon) then, after looking around I see the Yamaha P85 - which looks just about perfect, weighted keys etc. But it's (at the time being) a little too expensive (£400 on amazon).

So now I'm in a bit of a quandary. i want something as close to a piano as possible, but I cant afford at the moment to get something too expensive. My budget is at maximum £200. So in between the two of those keyboards lie the Yamaha NP30 - at around £150 - £200. But in reading the reviews the keys are not weighted, but it is better than most basic keyboards!

Aggh! Now you see where I am - in this place where I don't really know what I'm talking about - and that's where you guys come in. Hopefully You can recommend me something nice to be practicing on for my first few grades. If I continue playing after that I'll definitely stump up for either a decent digital piano or an upright acoustic.

So, that leaves me with this:

Help me uk-piano.org, you're my only hope!

Droo
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Re: Newbie unsure and about to commit to an instrument!

Post by Droo » 12 Feb 2009, 16:51

Brilliant quick response. With a budget of 150 - 200£ can anyone recommend me an instrument then? I'm assuming my 'middle of the road' NP30 might be a good starting point?

Gill the Piano
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Re: Newbie unsure and about to commit to an instrument!

Post by Gill the Piano » 12 Feb 2009, 16:55

For a couple of hundred quid you'll get a piano to take you to grade 3 or so. That gives you three years to save up for a proper piano. Or for about five hundred you'd get a 1970s/80s decent small upright that'll see you through to grade 7/8 at a pinch. Any plastic pig will die eventually, parts become unavailable after a few years and the resale value is negligible. Even an old upright usually recoups what you spend on it, parts are infinitely replaceable and you're playing a proper instrument.
I play for my own amazement... :piano;

Moonlight
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Re: Newbie unsure and about to commit to an instrument!

Post by Moonlight » 12 Feb 2009, 18:08

HI!

Personally I agree with Gill on this if you have a couple of hundred quid and aren’t in any financial problems then you should be able to buy a fairly decent upright, and will be able to keep it maintained. Only saw one last Saturday for £ 300 something and wish thats what I started off with, had a nice soft tone too but was a random make and wasn’t exactly pretty, but is way better then my digital.

Or you could do what me and Dave did get a digital piano. They aren’t too bad much better than a keyboard but you won’t develop quite as well as you could on an acoustic, the subtleties in touch and sound just don’t seem to exist on a digital.

I don’t think moving from your teacher's piano to a keyboard is a good idea, you will never develop much sensitively on one and you will become shocked by touch of a piano after playing a keyboard, and when you move to a digital piano or a acoustic your hands my ache a bit as they get used to the weight. That happened to me as I was using a Casio keyboard 1st then I bought my Yamaha Clavinova.

As you are new then my advice is get an acoustic piano, then you start out right 1st time. :)
Last edited by Moonlight on 24 Feb 2009, 15:58, edited 1 time in total.

markymark
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Re: Newbie unsure and about to commit to an instrument!

Post by markymark » 12 Feb 2009, 23:44

Droo wrote:Brilliant quick response. With a budget of 150 - 200£ can anyone recommend me an instrument then? I'm assuming my 'middle of the road' NP30 might be a good starting point?
An NP30 only has semi-weighted keyboard action which I think you'll grow out of very quickly. Ideally, that is if you are serious about learning to play piano, your ultimate goal should be to aim for an acoustic piano. You could find something decent, secondhand tho', within your budget, particularly during this economic climate. You could post a request in the "PIANOS WANTED" forum and see if anyone can help you. Also have a look on the "Pianos for sale" link on the left.

If all else fails, a secondhand digital may fit the bill for you. No harm to Gill, but "plastic pigs" is a typical piano tuner's response to digital pianos - they're not as bad as they are made out and, frankly, fill a space that an acoustic just can't! Starting with a digital for the early grades is not a crime as getting your eyes and fingers sychronised is the main focus of these grades. As you move on into Grade 4 and particularly Grades 5-6, interpretation of music and your interaction with the instrument becomes increasingly important.

I'm not really offering a simple solution here, but jsut balancing the discussion slightly.

Droo
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Re: Newbie unsure and about to commit to an instrument!

Post by Droo » 13 Feb 2009, 00:33

Thanks to everyone here - Weighing up all the pro's and con's I've gone with the NP30 and just to clarify why:

I'm pre-grade 1 - I'm still very new to this and need to acclimatise myself with basic music theory and recognizing the layout and coordination on a basic full sized piano keyboard.

I'm also still so preliminary in taking lessons that the chance of me 'bottling it' or 'throwing in the towel' is a very real possibility, flogging on an NP30 will be easier than getting rid of a piano.

This leads me to point 3 - After my first few grades, I agree that the need for a fully weighted digital piano, or upright will be required, at at such a time I'll be more inclined to sell my NP30 and get something more expensive and better suited to further learning.

Finally, my teacher also said pricewise / learning wise that it'll do the trick for now, and I'm inclined to trust her at this point!

I'll be sure to stay on this forum - as so far you've all been very helpful and friendly - and who knows, maybe I'll be asking for advice on playing my first exam pieces soon!

Gill the Piano
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Re: Newbie unsure and about to commit to an instrument!

Post by Gill the Piano » 13 Feb 2009, 18:03

Droo, have a look on 'Freecycle'; I have 3 customers who have got good pianos from there for nothing, and one of the pianos is absolutely wonderful, sounds like a grand. I think you have to offer something for rehoming before you can take, but everybody's got something they don't want!
I play for my own amazement... :piano;

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