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Bobby Dazzler

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It's the time of year where I scratch my head thinking about what to buy Mrs D for Christmas. With each year that passes, it's becoming more difficult to think of a great gift for her.

For the last few years I've considered buying a piano, as she played when she was a child but she's not played for years as we don't have one at home.

She's mentioned in the past that electric pianos are quite good, but I've always been reluctant in case they look like the Bontempi keyboard my big sister had in 1978.

Anyone know much about pianos, or electric pianos?

How much do I need to spend to get a decent piece of kit - either traditional or electric - not top of the range, and not the cheapest, just something that will play nicely and NOT look like a Bontempi!! :D

All thoughts welcomed!!
 
My Brother has a Yamaha.. it does just about anything. With and amp it sounds fantastic and it's not too expensive
 
There are many electronic pianos and keyboards on the market.
What many of them dont have are progressive keys whereby the harder or softer you hit the key you get a louder or quieter sound.
This is one of the essential qualities of a real piano. Also the "weight" of the keys are difficult to reproduce on an electronic keyboard. Not impossible, but its something you dont get on cheaper models.
Also, full size keys/keyboard is a must. Forget half size. Full size only.
Yamaha is the one make I would recommend. They are not the cheapest by far, but as they are one of the few manufacturers who make both real pianos and electronic pianos, they have the expertise and knowledge to produce both to a degree other makers can only dream of.
There are MANY other features which are desirable, too many to go into here. Prices range from around £400 for something worthwhile buying.

This is a good budget model as a starting point and has all the features a REAL piano player needs.........

http://www.imusician.co.uk/musicsto...th-of-Free-Music-Lessons/details.aspx?&comp=y
 
I agree with verytalldave the the pressure sensitive keys are a must if you can go to one with them on, otherwise no feeling or expression can be put into the playing, and you end playing like a pianola
 
It never ceases to amaze me how knowledgable this forum is!!

How about real pianos, what are the ball park figures for a nice one do you think?
 
An upright piano can be had for anything from a few hundred to many thousands. We inherited our upright piano and it cost as much to move from Scotland to London as it was worth - £400 - but there was sentimental value attached to it. There is a place in London with regular piano auctions. search and you will find. But do you have the space for a full upright piano (let alone a baby grand piano)? "Yes it's very nice dear... but where are you going to put it?" Unless you have six feet of spare wall space out of the way...Come to think of it wrapping it might be a bit of a challenge too AND you can't hide it under the bed or in the cupboard!
Les
 
One of the downsides with real pianos is the weight and bulk. They are not easy to move around.
And another, perhaps more important downside is that they require tuning every year or so. Even iron/steel framed ones go out of tune.
Central heating does pianos no favours at all and detunes pianos very quickly.
However, most serious piano players will still say that there is nothing to touch a real piano - even with todays electronic alternatives.
 
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An upright piano can be had for anything from a few hundred to many thousands. We inherited our upright piano and it cost as much to move from Scotland to London as it was worth - £400 - but there was sentimental value attached to it. There is a place in London with regular piano auctions. search and you will find. But do you have the space for a full upright piano (let alone a baby grand piano)? "Yes it's very nice dear... but where are you going to put it?" Unless you have six feet of spare wall space out of the way...Come to think of it wrapping it might be a bit of a challenge too AND you can't hide it under the bed or in the cupboard!
Les

Many Iron framed pianos are thrown away in the local recycling centers, some very small modern ones do not take up much room, my parents had a full sized grand in their lounge, but they dont make rooms like they had anymore
 
As someone has just said, nothing beats the sound and feel of a proper piano be it upright or baby/grand. That said, Yamaha seem to be the front runners with this type of thing for both domestic and pro use.

Full size weighted and touch sensitive keys are a must as is a full size (88 keys I think) keyboard itself. Also, consider this, as you move up in the quality/price stakes you find that more emphasis is given to the actual piano sounds/samples and the other sounds/samples are dropped. What you are buying is an electronic piano, not an electronic keyboard ;) .

Stay with mid/high end domestic as it often looks nicer in a home setting and also most pro stuff, (even relatively inexpensive), does not have internal amplification.

Have a gander here.

http://www.yamaha-europe.com/yamaha_europe/uk/10_musical_instruments/50_clavinova/index.html

Happy shopping!

Portzy.
 
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We Had an upright when I was growing up. I never continued playing but my mother is the local church Organist. The upright needed care and attention, and was a large peice of furniture shoved in the corner as that was the only place it could live, but it deadens the sound. You need to have the back of the piano facing the room for best sound, which is why they come on wheels, so you move them about. Thats the reason the lid on grands opens.

Personnaly, I would recommend you take your mrs to a piano shop and have a good few hours looking about at different types.

Full size keyboards means 2 things these days, 60 keys and 80 keys or there abouts. The full size being defined as full range of notes. 80 being full size. It could be 78 keys I can't remember. Or the other is full size as in the just key size, which means you can get smaller keys. rubbish idea.

Some keyboards (Keyboard being electric) allows you to adjust the key press so you can simulate the feel of a real piano, and soften it up to make it easier on your pinkies.

You really need to go look at a few. You need seating too. Does the one you want come on a folding stand, or is it fixed to legs which need unscrewing? What about seating. do you want it to be used through headphones, how many sound do you need? what about the music stand, will it be big enough for several sheets of music across the top to save changing the page? How portable is portable? can you lift it easily. Some are heavy. Do you need or want a carry case with it. does it need a power adapter or is one included, do you want, or need, the option of battery use? How many pedals do you want with it?

My mother has a roland keyboard now, as a result of selling the upright after spending £300 of getting it tuned which took the best part of a year to get somebody to do it, and it has 5 preset piano sounds and headphone connection so she doesnt disturb the neighbours. It has a connection for a digital sound device (Which my brother bought and uses on a Yamaha) that can create several thousand different instruments. It has a portable stand but the keyboard itself is not light. It has 3 built in memories.

My Bro's yamaha has hundreds and a disk drive of some kind. But when you put them both through external speakers, the Roland sounds like a piano. The Yamaha does too, until you hear them together. The Yamaha's build in speakers are far better then the Rolands though but they have more noises to create.


So, in summary, find a shop or two and spend the whole day there.


edit> yes, 88 and 60, thanks Portzy.

Plus if you find one in a shop and like it, look online as you may find it cheaper!


Steinway & Sons are US pianos and are very good, and Bosendorfer come from Austria, they are about the best. cheapest of these would be around £20k. Elton John uses Yamaha.
 
She's mentioned in the past that electric pianos are quite good, but I've always been reluctant in case they look like the Bontempi keyboard my big sister had in 1978.

Anyone know much about pianos, or electric pianos?

How much do I need to spend to get a decent piece of kit - either traditional or electric - not top of the range, and not the cheapest, just something that will play nicely and NOT look like a Bontempi!! :D

Yamaha Clavinovas are very good. My wife was determined to hate electronic pianos but failed when she finally started using one.

The keyboards are mechanically quite complicated in order to get the weighting and strike/bounce right.

When we bought ours the prices ranged from about £800 up. That was about 5 years ago. Ours cost about £1300. It was in the middle of the range with a slightly better keyboard and samples. Watch out for delivery charges.
 
wooden keys

my tuppence

Velocity sensitive keys are a must (otherwise its just a switch you press)

And to top that, if the missus is 'into' it, wooden keys are the best

I have a good Kawai and play both it and traditional pianos. The Kawai (electronic) is as good as all but the top of the range pianos

Plus, it doesn't' need maintenance, (tuning or wood, the latter as important as the tuning for tone). They are Lighter (a little) and smaller (a bit) The sound in a dead room can also suffer - whilst electonic can add a little reverb to sound like you actually want it to.

Plus you can plug into a PC and have fun with it - can get the kids interested as well if you have a brood - which is only a good thing

If you have the space (and the money), put a baby grand in the west wing, otherwise I'd recommend a good electronic but with wooden keys

Music shops will do a deal as they don't shift many pianos AND hence have a decent margin to play with

Love Christmas:crazy:

Fabes
 
The conventional piano is high maintenance if you want to keep it tuned, but it can be a very nice piece of furniture. Is your wife a technical whizz that can use modern electronic equipment? The electronic keyboard will offer so much more to what is heard, but will perhaps not be a replacement for a real piano. My son takes ages literally programming his keyboard before introducing his digits to the ivories, but when he does start playing, then there is all types of different accompaniments that make the music more complete. There are also electronic piano's and of course very modern and complex organs.

I go along with Scumbag's advice and would suggest a visit to a few music shops, but whatever you do, if you wife is a competent musician, don't buy cheap! I would suggest look at spending a very minimum of £800 up-wards. Yamaha have a very good reputation (that's what we have) but they are not the best. I have heard good reviews regarding the Yamaha Clavinovas but these items are always being updated.

Regards
John
 
The conventional piano is high maintenance if you want to keep it tuned, but it can be a very nice piece of furniture. Is your wife a technical whizz that can use modern electronic equipment? The electronic keyboard will offer so much more to what is heard, but will perhaps not be a replacement for a real piano. My son takes ages literally programming his keyboard before introducing his digits to the ivories, but when he does start playing, then there is all types of different accompaniments that make the music more complete. There are also electronic piano's and of course very modern and complex organs.

An upright takes up a lot of space in a small-medium room.

Depending on the model the digital piano may be shallower (in some cases a good bit shallower) and doesn't have the bulk up top - so is less dominating.

The basic digital pianos have hardly any controls. They're intended to be switch on and go. Yamaha traditionally split their range into the CLP and CVP families. Same underlying electronics but the CLPs are more like furniture and aimed at being piano replacements whereas the CVPs have more complex displays and controls.

I note that several messages refer to keyboards and sensitivity. Back in the 80s this was a big deal. Now even the basic keyboards have some sort of sensitivity but are not weighted like a piano key. Electronic piano keyboards don't just have switches but some quite complex weighting and damping mechanisms. Yamaha use the term 'graded' because the keys have a different weighting across the jeyboard from low to high octaves to simulate the piano's hammer differences. Roland probably do something similar (and Casio also seems to be trying to do something in that market).
 
Yup Mrs BTB has a Yamaha too.

We used to have 'proper' pianos at home (both my sisters played), and they were a real pain from the maintenance POV.
 
Yamaha and Roland spring to mind as the best Electric piano manufacturers. Keyboard sizes are from 61 note (5 octave) to 88 note (full size).

Make sure it has weighted natural piano keys, not velocity sensing plastic keys. This will give the real feel of a piano, preferably with a proper set of foot pedals too.
 
My sister has played for the last 20 odd years and is trained to some super high standard or another and swears by her Technics. Can`t get hold of her at the moment for the model etc, but I know she`s had it for several years and spent a fair few grand on it. They might be worth a look ;)
 
Thanks to everyone that has posted - I really appreciate your comments.

Yamaha springs up a lot, and going for a realistic key/action seems to be important. As some suggested, it looks like we'll need to visit a shop or two - I was hoping to do it as a surprise, but that may not be the wisest thing to do.

Finally, I like the idea of having a real piano, as it's an interesting piece of furniture too. However if we can get an electric piano with a similar classy feel then that may well do the job. We have plenty of space for an upright but would struggle with a baby grand - space and cost I suspect.

Thank you all once more. I'll take a look at the links now...
 
£350-400 would get you a decent quality digital piano from the likes of Korg or Yamaha. They will have 88 keys. I have a Korg that I play for Grade 5/6 classical piano. The sound is good and it has a good weighted feel.
 
I am surprised nobody has mentioned it yet but, if you go electronic, you should definitely check out the Rolf Harris Stylophone. Once you have one of those, you only need the wobble board to accompany your wife in duets and you can hit the professional circuit.
 

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