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Dear Mr. Howard,
I'm going to buy myself a digital piano. and I'd love some advice please:
Here's what I know I want:
A good choice of serious/classical voicing – including harpsichord, fortepiano would be nice but not essential. I'm a semi-house-trained classical pianist who strays as far as Scott Joplin but not much further;
The ability to play duets with myself, i.e. record one part and play it back while playing the other; enough memory to handle something like Mozart/Schubert/Brahms works for piano4hands, and I'd like to be able to store my attempts because I won't get it right first time and in the event that I do get it right I shall want to keep same;
I'd like to play Music Minus One and the like, thereby pretending that I'm playing along with a great orchestra.
Standard features like a metronome, those 'ears' on the music holder that keep the book open and in place (not everybody has them, I find), sustaining pedal, etc.
Oh – it's got to be upright, 'cos I haven't got much room, and of course I'll need earphones/a silencer so as not to annoy the cat.
Here's what I know I don't need:
The ability to add a rhythm section, or indeed anything that gives me the facility to be or accompany a rock/pop group in the privacy of my own home.
Fancy lighting, patronising welcome messages, and the like;
And I'm not the world's best when it comes to instruction books and I don't know much about modern electronics (I don't even have a mobile phone) but Him Indoors probably does.
Here's the constraints I know about:
The space I've got is about 60" wide, which looks OK according to the specs I've read;
The piano's going downstairs and my computer lives upstairs, so anything that relies on the one talking to the other isn't going to work (though I'm going to have to buy a new laptop at some point);
I don't own an iPod, iPad, nor nuffin' like that – so please understand that you're talking to an utter techie-klutz.
Budget: I'd happily go up to £3000 for the right instrument.
I do like your guidebook – you know your stuff. Therefore may I ask what you would advise? You're right that it seems better to buy online – looking at local piano emporiums they don't seem to offer much choice, especially the sort I'm looking for.
Thank you for listening,
Kind regards,
Dr. Valerie Stewart.

Reply/ Hi Valerie

Having read all your requirements I recommend
going for the Yamaha CLP470.

The Yamaha pianos offer a rich, vibrant piano
sound that’s closer to an acoustic piano than
all other makes.

The CLP470 is near the top of Yamaha’s range.
It has a nice, heavy-weighted touch, wooden keys,
and a superb, full sound.

The price is also less than £2,000.

Yours pianistically,

Graham Howard

I want to buy myself a digital piano. I am looking to the Kawaï CN-23 or Kawaï CN-33 (which would be my maximum range price, and even a little bit over it), or the CLP-430. I know someone who have a CLP-320, and he is very happy with it (and before that, he had played on the same piano as me, so if he thinks it has realistic touch, I should probably think the same, being used to the same upright piano).

However, I just went to the piano store, and the seller told me that the CLP 430 was really hard to find and they didn't have it in store. So I've only been able to play the Kawaï and the CLP-440. The seller seemed to prefer a lot the Kawaï, telling me a couple of times that it was the most popular ones for now, and that it had a great sound and everything, and he looked like he didn't like the CLP-430… I even heard him say that it wasn't a good piano (not as good as the others on the same range price) (he was of course not talking to me, he was on phone, but still).
So I am a bit confused… I though I would buy the 430, but the guy made me unsure about that. And the fact that I couldn't try it made it even worst.
However, when I asked him if they had one in their other shop, he said yes (even if he said before that it was really really hard to find that piano). So I don't know what to think about that. Was he only trying to sell me the Kawaï because he is making more money out of it (as what written on your website or someone else's) or is he right and I should go with Kawaï. If so, should I go with the CN-23 or go for the 33?

I'll probably go try the 430 in their other shop, but still, he made me really confused because he really liked to dislike the 430.

Thanks for your help

Reply/ Hi Joelle

I’ve played all the Yamaha and Kawai digital pianos.
Personally I much prefer the key touch of the Yamaha.
Its firmness of touch feels much closer to a real piano.

The Kawai has a nice touch also, but if feels quite
soft (spongy) at the bottom of the key’s downstroke.
That’s not favourable for my playing. I like to feel
the key reach the bottom. It gives me more control
and I can put more into the music I am playing.

Both the CN33 and CLP430 have a good piano sound.
The Kawai is a little brighter, especially in the mid to
high treble.

So, of course, it comes down to your own taste.
Do you like a bright/hard sound, or a warm/mellow sound?

Yours pianistically,

Graham Howard

Hi Howard,

Many thanks for your piano buying guide.
At the present time my wife has an upright piano and I wanted to surprise her at Christmas with a Digital Piano. The problem I have is that I don't play so I know nothing about them.
A friend of mine has a Rowland FP-7F what would you recommend as a good equivalent at the same price or cheaper or is the Rowland the best?
The Digital piano will be played at home am I going OTT spending around £1,500
Help required.
Many thanks


Reply/ Hi Chris

The Roland FP-7F isn’t really meant for home us.
It’s more for gigging musicians that need to
transport their piano frequently to gigs.

The best piano you can get for about £1,500 is
the Yamaha CLP440.

This has a great sound, and the key touch is
very close to a real piano. I’m sure your wife
would enjoy playing this piano.

Yours pianistically,

Graham Howard

"Which digital piano would you suggest?"

Hi Graham,

I'm wondering is it ok to buy a digital piano ….. However, it will only get used one month a year ? Or would you recommend to but an acoustic piano instead ? Will the digital piano get spoil if it's switch off for the entire 11 months ? ( until we get back to the UK next summer to turn it on again ?! ) Am currently looking at Yamaha CLP 440/480 or the Classenti CDP 2/3 ……

What would you suggest ?


Reply/ Hi Amie

Nothing would happen to a digital piano if
it was left turned off for 11 months or more.

The pianos on your short list are all good ones.

The CLP480 is the best, of course (well, you
do get what you pay for)…

If you want to spend less, then the CLP440 and
Classenti CDP3 are similar pianos. The CDP3 has
the advantage of looking like a real piano
(that goes without saying, of course).

Value for money wise I put them in this order:

1) CLP440
2) CDP2
3) CDP3
4) CLP480

Yours pianistically,

Graham Howard

Hi Graham,

I'm looking at the potential of renting (then owning?) a digital piano for a church. It needs to be robust, have excellent touch-sensitivity and also allow additional voices to be played along with the piano (strings/pads/bass). It will need to plug into the PA/sound system.

Where on your site should we start looking?


Reply/ Hi Gareth

The best type of digital piano for a church is one
that has powerful speakers, a large sturdy cabinet
and several inputs/outputs for speakers, PA systems,
computer and other electronic devices.

The most popular pianos that churches buy are
the Yamaha CLP470, CLP480 and Roland HP307.

The Yamaha CLP480 is second to none when it
come to pure power and tone. But it is quite pricey.

The Yamaha CLP470 and Roland HP307 are both
suitable for your church…

It all comes down to personal taste really.

The Roland has a lighter key touch than the Yamaha,
and the Yamaha has a slightly brighter, more strident

Yours pianistically,

Graham Howard

Go to the next page for more questions and answers —>


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