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After trying out the classenti cdp1 I checked out some independent reviews online and it seems to be one of the better pianos for that particular price range and perfect for the casual dabbler who seeks something a few cuts above the lower end products but could never justify spending more than a grand. I also like the simple instant record facility and the proper pedals as opposed to the wired ones (i.e. the casio) which just don't feel right!


Hi Graham,

I had a thorough look through your very comprehensive book. It helped a lot.
There are no questions remaining really.
I was maybe a bit surprised about the overrepresentation (if I may say so) of YAMAHA's as the "overall winners" (especially in the section above 1000). But okay.

I will probably decide between either a Kawai CN43 or a Roland HP 302 or a Yamaha 440 … or stick with a CN23 ….

My son (6) and I are absolute beginners on the piano. However, we would like to purchase a piano which will last us and keep us happy for quite a while.

Any suggestions?

Best regards,


Reply/ Hi Conny

The Kawai CN23 will be fine if you want to save
some money. It has a good sound, but the key
touch isn’t as firm or realistic as the Yamaha
Clavinova range…

The key touch is the most important thing –
especially when learning. It’s important to
develop the correct technique from early on.
This will make the transition to an acoustic
piano much smoother later on.

The Yamaha CLP440 is the piano I recommend
for you and your son.

The CLP440 has a firmer, more realistic feel to
the keys and a richer, more vibrant tone.

Yours pianistically,

Graham Howard

Hi Graham
Thanks very much for your reply. Ok, that was useful to know. I have decided I am happy to spend up to £1200 on a digital piano but as you say I want it to sound like an upright, so Classenti sound like a good brand/product.
I was trying to look for one with a display screen like the Chase (as it shows the notes on the screen as you play) – does this feature generally only come with basic pianos?
Thanks again for your help

Reply/ Hi Josephine

The display screen usually comes with the cheaper
all singing all dancing type pianos…

You also find display screens in the expensive
Yamaha multi-functional CVP pianos.

To get a decent piano around the £1,200 mark
you should look for one without a screen. In
this way you’re paying for the quality of sound
and touch rather than sacrificing this for a
multitude of buttons, lights and gimmicks.

The Yamaha CLP430 and Classenti CDP2 are
the two pianos that excel around the £1000 –
£1400 price point.

Yours pianistically,

Graham Howard

Dear Graham,

I am looking for the right digital piano for myself and my two children, and came across and your very helpful "7 things …" booklet. I am very grateful for the time and effort that has gone into these resources – I was dreading weeks and weeks of scattergun searches on the web. I hope you can give me some confirming advice to help me move forward to ordering. My consideration points are as follows:

1. My daughter (aged 7) is doing recorder lessons, can read music quite well for the time she's been at it, and is keen to start piano. There is little doubt that she will pursue music seriously. She will get weekly lessons, where she will play an acoustic Chappell upright. The teacher insists that if she plays a digital piano for home practice, it should have a key touch as similar to an acoustic piano in weight as possible (which she thinks is only available in very expensive models). She is also against what she calls "ensemble units". I'm not sure what these are, but perhaps this has to do with many different voices, rhythm programmes, auto-accompaniment, etc., for the child to play around with.

2. My son (aged 5) is starting to show an interest, but it's too early to tell whether he will develop sustained interest. When he's allowed on a Yamaha PSR79 keyboard I have from some time ago, he spends all his time messing about with voice/effects buttons to find Star Wars light sabre sounds, etc. If he's to learn, we need something that's got the least possible messing about potential.

3. I would like to take this opportunity to intensively develop my own piano playing. My music training was in the north Indian tradition (voice with harmonium), but I have since learned to read music, and have some right hand ability. The piano is my favourite instrument, and it will be a lifetime's wish-fulfillment if I can learn to play some of my jazz and romantic favourites. I plan to spend a lot of time on this piano myself.

4. The piano will go in the upstairs study (fair sized but not big room), and needs to be as compact as possible. If it's easily moved around the room, that would be a bonus. If it has good sound, that would be great, but a lot of playing will be with headphones. It will very close to my Apple Mac setup, so if it can be connected (via USB or whatever) so that we can use learning software like EarMaster, etc., that would be brilliant as well.

All in all, piano-like key touch, compact/portable body, and basic computer connectivity are the only important factors for now, and I would like to maximise what I get in these and minimise everything else. From going through your booklet and website, it seems to me that your Classenti P1 bundle is just about what I'm after. Based on the info above, could you please comment on this model's suitability, and suggest if there are any alternatives I should consider? I would be very grateful for your thoughts.

Best wishes,


Reply/ Hi Satu

The Classenti CDP1 has everything you need.

Your teacher would be happy to know that the Classenti's
key touch is as close as you can get to an acoustic piano.

The CDP1 is certainly the best value for money piano
around the £600 – £700 price range.

I confidently recommend it for you and your children.

Yours pianistically,

Graham Howard

Hi Graham
Thanks for meeting with Brendan and I yesterday.
We’ve been pondering, and Bren still seems keen to try out a digital piano
I was looking at the next model up of the Cassenti CDP2.
How would this compare to the Roland F110?
Is there much of a difference?
Many thanks

Reply/ Hi Margaret

You are welcome. It was good meeting you both too.

The Classenti CDP2 has a warmer, deeper piano sound
than the Roland F110…

Its deepness brings it closer to the sound of a Steinway
or Bechstein.

The Roland looks nicer, and is more compact. So it
wins on looks.

The key touch is also a bit lighter on the Roland. So
if Brendan would prefer the lighter touch the F110
would certainly be worth considering.

Yours pianistically,

Graham Howard

Dear Graham,

I would like to please get some advice on buying a digital piano. I've been shopping for weeks and I'm getting rather lost and confused. Your site has been the most helpful guide so far and I was hoping you could help me with deciding between a used Yamaha DGX505 and a new-ish Sulinda SL10 for the same price (£200).
I used to take lessons as a child but haven't been playing for over 10 years. As I am basically looking for a practice/ hobby piano, I don't really need any of the fancy features that digital keyboards come with. I suppose I am most concerned about the touch and sound of the machine. I am thinking of upgrading to an acoustic upright, so something that would be satisfying for the next 5 or so years would suffice.
Would you please share your thoughts on the two machines?
(Or should I just buckle down, save for another year, then buy a better, more expensive instrument?)
Thank you so much!

Best regards,

Reply/ Hi Tingli

The Yamaha DGX505 is superior to the Sulinda.

Besides, I recommend sticking with the well
known brands: Yamaha, Kawai, Roland,
Classenti, Casio, Korg and Kurzweil.

The DGX505 is ‘OK’, but it’s really more of
a keyboard than a digital piano.

You get a decent piano sound, but the key
touch is lighter.

If you’re serious about your piano playing
then I recommend waiting it out until you
can get something a bit better.

Any of the following will do:

Korg SP170S
Casio PX330
Classenti CDP1
Yamaha YDP141
Kawai CL36

You might also consider our Rent-to-Own
programme. This allows you to pay monthly
until you are ready to buy the piano. You
can then get all or part of the rental taken
off the piano’s price.

You can read more about it here:

Yours pianistically,

Graham Howard

"My 7 year old son has started taking piano lessons at school and I'm not sure whether he will stick to it"

Hello, I have downloaded your free piano guide and scanned through it and wonder if you could help me?

My 7 year old son has started taking piano lessons at school and I'm not sure whether he will stick to it (even though I would love him to) I've spoken to his piano teacher for advice as to which budget keyboard/digital piano I could purchase considering the following points:

1. He may give it up in a few weeks (but not if I can help it!)
2. We have a limited budget as he is not the only child in the family – ideally I wanted to spend no more than £120 (even though I know this is a 'pittance')
3. I understand I need touch-sensitive keys and a foot pedal?

Your free paino guide offers guidance to buying pianos under £500, but they are all very close to the £500 'mark'. Is it possible for me to buy anything half-decent within my budget… or should I just give up now!

As you can tell – I have no experience or knowledge of pianos/keyboards/digital pianos whatsoever, however I found your article very helpful in layman's terms.

Thank you for your help


Reply/ Hi Tracey

In your situation I don’t recommend buying a piano.

If you spend much less than £500 you’ll end up with
an unrealistic key touch and poor sound. This is not
desirable for your son to learn and progress on.

To get a piano that is good enough to learn on
and one that will still be OK for the higher grades
will cost about £200 – £300 over your budget.

What I recommend for you is the ‘Rent-to-Own’

This is a popular choice for parents in your

The ‘Rent-to-Own’ programme gets you a much
better piano for a monthly cost of around £45.

If you buy within 6 months then all the rental
is taken off the price.

You can read details of this here:

Let me know if you would like more help
selecting a piano.

Yours pianistically,

Graham Howard

Hi Graham & Co,

As wonderful as you guide is I'm stuck on making decision, mostly becuase I can't hear the pianos I've wittled it down to being played because I live in depeest darkest Aberdeenshire. I think I have it down to 2, the Gear4Music 8865 and the Classenti CDP1. The Gear4Music 8865 purely on price, the Classenti is a little more than I was intending to pay but if the extra is worth it then I will do so, especially as you have the 12 month no interest payment plan.

I don't need a good piano – although I had 12 years of lessons as a child I also did about 12 hours of practice over the whole period and have hardly touched a piano for 15 years but recently have started to get back into it. I was going to buy a cheap second hand accoustic but living in a damp drafty house prone to quite large temperature change when the fire is light, I would crack the sound board fairly quickly so have decided to spend more and buy a digital piano. It also means I can plug the earphones in and my poor husband does not have to listen to me!!!

I also have young children who both love tinkering on a piano if they have access and maybe when they are a little older they will want lessons, therefore I'm now looking at a more long term solution but still have no money!

I want it to sound piano like and have heard the Classenti (although the CDP2 seems to have a much nicer sound – is that just the video quality or is there really much of a difference?) but what about the Gear4Music 8865, is it really that different to listen to? And what about the touch sensitivity and key weight on the 8865, is it noticeably inferior to the Classenti? Would it really hinder my children's ability to learn the piano (got rather worried when reading about key weight etc) or is the difference obvious to someone very competent?

Any comments on either piano (the gear4Music 8865 and the Classenti CDP2) and the difference between the Classenti CDP1 and CDP2 which I've been able to hear on your website would be much appreciated.



Reply/ Hi Toto

The Gear4Music 8865 would be OK for your children
to tinkle on and for you to get back to playing, but…

It’s not ideal for long term use. Especially if your
children progress through the piano grades.

The Classenti CDP1 is a much nicer piano. It has
fully-weighted keys with 4 levels of touch sensitivity.
Both features are essential for grade 3 and above.

Also, the sound on the CDP1 is more piano-like
than the Gear4Music 8865.

The main difference between the CDP1 and CDP2
is the sound.

The CDP2 has a deeper, more resonant piano sound.
This is due to its more advanced sound sampling.
And also its larger speakers.

The CDP2 has 5 levels of touch sensitivity. So this
will be suitable for grade 8 playing.

Yours pianistically,

Graham Howard

Good morning,

Thank you very much for your nice book, it's very informative and helpful. My choice was between Roland HP 305 and Yamaha CLP 340. To be honest my preliminary suggestion was 80:20 in favor of Roland. But today I tried both Roland and Yamaha in instruments shop and contrary to my prejudice I found Yamaha sounding and feeling better. I think this is quite objective evaluation as I was mostly on side of the Roland before. So I made decision towards Yamaha CLP 340. But after I tried also Yamaha CLP 370 and for me touch was the same, but it sounded better (in my humble opinion, but for my friend sound was "almost the same"). The instrument we want to buy is for my daughter, who just started in musical school and we see she likes it.

Thanks and best regards Sergey

Thank you for your kind advice Graham – is it really Graham, or a stand-in? 😉 I find it hard to imagine that the real deal has got time to answer all these simpletons, and at such a quick turn-around too! – which I shall abide by and ask you for a quote on Classenti and Yamaha electric pianos, in the price-range £500 – £1600. Can I ask what you'd recommend for a trio of children ranging in age from 12 – 21, plus possibly the two parents getting into the swing?

Many thanks,

Reply/ Hi Cheng

It’s alright… no offence taken.

I didn’t reply to your earlier email because
I was out on the bike… such lovely weather
(for a change).

Now back to work 🙂

I would be glad to quote you on a digital piano.

I see your budget is quite wide… so you really
have three choices

1) Buy a cheapish piano for now, then part-
exchange it for a much better one when your
kids (and you, of course) have progressed to
a more advanced level. The piano I recommend
is the Broadway B1 (£557)

2) Buy a mid-priced piano that will take your
children to about grade 7 (this could take
5-10 years). The one I recommend is the
Classenti CDP1.

3) Go all out from the start at and get a piano
that’s good for now and also good right up to
the highest grade. In other words, buy a piano
that you won’t need to change. The one I
recommend is the Yamaha CLP440.

Yours pianistically,

Graham Howard

Hi Graham,

In response to your email below I would like to say that I took my time reading your tips and elsewhere on the internet. I also went to a local store that also sells digital piano's from Yamaha and Roland. I would like to buy a new Yamaha CLP 330 or even 340. The problem is that we have little space (not so big apartment for a family with 3 children ;)) and therefore decided to use my Yamaha YPT-420 a little longer (I learned sightreading and chords etc on this one but feel that for proper playing I need to upgrade for the 'touch' argument. In our public library I can play on an Essex piano with silence system on board but playing that is extremely heavy for me, totally different of course). I was seriously looking and probably would have bought one from gear4music or
I hope to find a solution in the near future.
Thanks for all your information!


Reply/ Hi Richard

The Korg SP170 might be the answer for you…

This is a very neat piano (both in size and
looks). The tone is nice and the key touch
medium weighted and smooth to play.

It has a total power output of 18 watts,
which is pretty good considering the piano
weighs in at only 12kg.

The Korg SP170 is the best you can get
for under £500.

Yours pianistically,

Graham Howard

Hello Graham,

the one I have been thinking of would've been the CDP1, but I don't dare buy one without trying it out. I've been checking out some stores around here, and giving various Rolands and Yamahas a go. Also tried out a couple of cheap Aura's but quickly turned away from them due to the rickety feel of the keys. I must say the more I look the more confused I'm getting on which way to go…

They are expecting a new model Kurtzweil soon though, I was wondering if you have any recommendations on those? The one I've been thinking of is the new MP10. They mention the triple-sampled grand piano sound (a Steinway I think?), does this mean that each tone is sampled three times? I've been warned about budget digital piano's that have limited sampling per tone.

I've set myself a limit of 1000 euro.

How would you rate a Kurtzweil, comparing to a Roland (110) or a entry-level Clavinova?

Thank you in advance. Really want to pick up a nice digital piano and get playing again, but with so much to choose from it's all a bit overwhelming to be honest.

best regards,
Kevin Battarbee

Reply/ Hi Kevin

The Classenti CDP1 is a nice piano and compares
favourably with the bottom end Yamaha Clavinova
range and Kawai CN23 and CN33.

But, if the Classenti isn’t available in your neck of
the woods then I recommend trying out the
following pianos:

Yamaha CLP430
Kawai CN23
Kawai CN33

The Yamaha has the nicest piano tone, for sure.
And the key touch is a little firmer, surer.

Yours pianistically,

Graham Howard


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