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Based on what I've read, in this forum and others, my choice has settled on either the Yamaha CLP-320, CLP-330 or the CLP-340. Whilst budget is a concern I would rather wait to buy a better model than rush into an early purchase and need to upgrade later. I don't know if I'll continue learning at the pace I have done so far, but longevity is definitely my main concern and I'd like the instrument to be suitable for higher grades. I got the impression that this ruled out the CLP-320, so I guess the main question is whether the CLP-340 is worth the extra cost, and if it would last as long as I'm hoping it will.
The other side to this is an actual piano, and I've seen two upright Pianos advertised for around £250 recently, but I presume they wouldn't be a wise purchase. Is it possible to get a good Piano for a similar cost to a digital (size isn't really a consideration), and does it even matter that I wouldn't be practicising on the real thing?
Thanks for any help you can provide, it may be a year or so before I make the purchase but I'd like to have something to aim for (plus it's my birthday coming up soon, so you never know ). I'll try to have a go on some of the models nearer the time, to get a feel for them, but I'd like to know roughly what to expect.
I wouldn't look at a piano that costs £250 as it will probably be awful. I don't know what kind of acoustic you could get for the price of a CLP-340.
I ruled out the 320 almost immediately, the keys didn't feel quite right somehow. I'm not sure if it's the difference between standard GH and the new GH3 keys but they felt almost 'mushy' (not an expert term I'm sure). Admittedly I've only played on one actual piano (next doors), so I've got little to compare it to, it just felt as though the weight was constant as you pushed the keys down. In contrast I felt with the 330 and 340 that once you overcame the initial resistance the notes depressed very cleanly. The only thing I can really advise is to try them out for yourself, perhaps ask the shop assistant to cover up the model numbers as well, a blind test may be a more convincing argument for buying a better model.
The reason I chose the 340 over the 330 ultimately just came down to the synthetic ivory keytops. I couldn't notice much difference in the sound, or speaker quality, and I'm sure that I'll never use the LAN feature. However it's always irritating when your playing a piece well and your fingers slip due to the plastic coating, so I thought the extra was worthwhile. Coincidently I did try the 370, and whilst I was skeptical of the wooden keys I could feel a difference in weighting (wooden keys are heavier). This made it even closer to an actual piano (well, closer to next doors piano) but I felt that it didn't warrant the ~£200 extra.
As a side note, I searched around for the best price online and found dv247 offering the 340 for £1506. I was about to purchase it there but then the music shop I tried the models in (Rimmers) rang up and asked if I was considering buying. I mentioned the internet price and they subsequently knocked about £300 off their retail price and I got to buy from somewhere local. Just goes to show it may be worth trying to broker a deal, even if it's a little extra I think it's quite reassuring to have someone to talk to face to face should anything go wrong.
I can't really comment on the 340 too much, as I've just had a couple of hours on it so far. I can see it will be quite a while before I'll be able to play as fluidly as on the keyboard, the weight really takes it's toll when playing quickly. Building wise, once out the box I got it up and ready in half an hour. I was given the choice of having it built (£60) or just dropped off and chose the latter, it's a two person job but if you know how to use a screwdriver you shouldn't have any trouble. I chose Mahogany and the finish is beautiful, it looks as expensive as it is. I quite like Rosewood (a darker finish) but hated Cherry, and I couldn't bring myself to pay the extra for Polished Ebony. In terms of voices there is two grand pianos, two electric pianos, harpsichord, electric clavichord, vibraphone, church organ, jazz organ, strings, choir, guitar, wood bass, electric brass, and theres a second variant of each. They all sound great (especially when you play the demo for the instrument), but it's the piano were it really excels. There are two headphone slots as well for quiet practicing, I tried it out with a pair of Sennheiser 595s and I actually thought it sounded better through them than with the speakers (a bit clearer). That was a bit of a relief to be honest, as using headphones with my keyboard just showed you how bad it really was, the poor speakers actually made it sound half decent.
Thats all I can think of now, if anyone has any questions I'll do my best to answer them, better get practicing .
I realise I'm resurrecting an 'old' post but I am very interested to know how you (rv88uk) are getting on with your CLP340. You will have had it about 18 months now.
I have recently started piano lessons (nearly 3 mths ago). I got to Grade 3 as a child but then stopped, unfortunately. Acquiring a keyboard last year has inspired me to start again, at the age of 60!!!
So, I have been researching digital pianos, with the intent to get one in the next few months. I have looked at a couple of Yamaha Aries (but prefer the Clavinovas) and Rolands, in the local music shop. Needless to say, it's hard to decide due to such choice. Now, there is the CLP430, which is a bit more expensive than the 330 but, looking at the specs, may be worth the extra.
As I said, it would be so very helpful to hear how you have found your 340, now that you have had a good time to play it. I can only assume you have progressed significantly now and will have a very valid opinion.
Well done to you and hope you are enjoying it all