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Digital Piano Buyer's Guide

 Free Digital Piano Buyer’s

“7 Things You MUST Know Before Buying A    Digital Piano”, by
Graham Howard

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1) How to understand confusing terminology (Polyphony, graded hammer, etc.)
2) Common digital piano questions
3) The disadvantages of buying second hand versus new
4) 6 simple tests you can do in a piano store
5) The best digital piano brands: 1st) ? 2nd) ? 3rd)

6) Top ten piano models: (a) under £500 (b) £500 to £1,000 (c) over £1000
7) Should you buy online or in a physical


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31 July, 2013

“Can digital pianos survive in humid areas?”

Hi Graham

I have an important question to ask, this can affect my decision on buying one.

My flat is quite small and the only place I can place the piano is the
livingroom. My kitchen is an open kitchen, and the whole flat tends to have a
lot of condensation. Can digital pianos survive in humid areas in the long term?



Reply/ Hi Rebecca

Digital pianos are OK with heat or cold, but
they don’t get on well with condensation…

Condensation can affect the electronics inside
the piano.

The best thing to do would be to keep it as
far away from the part of the kitchen you
do your cooking.

Yours pianistically,

Graham Howard

“Is high gloss polished ebony worth paying more for?”

Hi Graham,

I need your advice regarding the maintanence (Yamaha Clavinova) for polished ebony, black walnut, dark rosewood
and mahogany. Which one among them that is easy to take care of?

The reason for this question is that the price list for polished ebony (PE) seems to be £300++ difference from
the rest, hence, I wonder whether it is worthwhile to spend for PE or perhaps, it is just cosmetic.

Your advise is highly appreciated.

Thank you,


Reply/ Hi Ahmad

You raise a very important question. And it’s one
I often hear in the piano showroom when families
are considering colour choices.

The easiest finishes to maintain are the satin ones.

Polished high gloss finishes (especially black) show
dust and finger prints more. They also scratch more

But whichever finish you choose, it will look good
for years if you look after it.


• Keep the piano out of direct sunlight
• Keep the piano at least a few inches away from a radiator
• Don’t leave the piano turned on if you’re not playing it
• Don’t place sharp objects on it (picture frames, toys etc.)
• Always use a soft cloth when wiping it over

Paying £300+  more for a high gloss finish is only
worth it if the piano compliments the room it’s in.
In the right setting the high gloss finish looks stunning.

Yours pianistically,

Graham Howard

“Our dilemma is whether we carry on with the one we have, incurring further costs, or
whether we should buy a new one.”

Hi Graham

Thanks for your offer of help, the digital
piano book
was really helpful and interesting.

Our church has a Roland KR-177 which is about 15-16 years old – the church
is cold and damp during the week when not in use but it’s been fine until
the last few months.  We had a problem with a note which would occasionally
sound very loudly or not at all – then it became increasingly worse until we
had someone out to repair and service it.  All was fine for a couple of
weeks but then the note next to it is beginning to suffer the same fate,
despite the chap saying all was well with it.  We leave the piano on and
covered during the week and this seems to limit the problem.  The previous
repair bill came to £150.

Our dilemma is whether we carry on with the one we have, incurring any
further costs, or whether we should bite the bullet and pay out for a new
one.  Is it likely that this kind of problem will keep recurring? It’ll only
take 5 repairs for us to have bought a new fairly decent one!!  We are a
very small church – only about 30-40 people attend and the room is only the
size of a large lounge, and we only need something very basic.  I have been
looking at an Aurus at our local retailer which is for sale at £750 (and I
get 10% as a piano teacher discount) would this be good enough, and do you
think it more prudent to repair or buy new?

Any advice would be much appreciated!

Many thanks

Carolyn Port (Mrs)


Hi Carolyn

Repair bills (as you have discovered) can be
incredibly expensive on digital pianos.

And a piano that’s over 15 years old is likely
to be on its last legs.

I recommend replacing it with a brand new
digital piano.

The YDP141 can be purchased online for £576
including delivery. Click on the link below:

Let me know if you’d like me to recommendation
some suitable pianos for your church.

Yours pianistically,

Graham Howard

“Can you give me some advice about whether digital pianos tolerate room heat better than
an upright?”

We are redecorating a room and are considering getting rid of our old
upright piano (which we are told by our tuner is on its last legs anyway)
and getting a digital piano. This is for my 11 year old to learn on and one
of our other children to play occasionally.

My view is that a digital will make better use of space (it is not a large
room), plus we are installing a wood burning stove in the room and don’t
have any choice but to position the piano within a couple of metres of it.
So whilst I’m sure that your advice will be to keep any instrument away from
a heat source as much as possible, we don’t have a lot of choice. The stove
won’t be on al the time, by the way, a radiator is also in the room but
further from the piano.

Given our limitation on where we can place it, would you consider a digital
piano to be a better bet than an upright if this close to a heat source?

Many thanks,

Richard Luscombe

Reply/ Hi Richard

Digital pianos are much more resiliant when it
comes to heat.

This is because they are made predominantly
from mdf and plastic. Whereas a traditional
upright piano consist of mostly wood.

Heat isn’t usually a problem for digital pianos.
Only condensation is something to aware of.
The piano’s electronics can fail if subjected
to high levels of condensation.

Steam from the kitchen is something to be
careful with. But from a wood stove… it’s
absolutely fine.

Upright pianos are happiest if kept in a
room with a constant temperature. Also not too
hot, and not too cold.

Yours pianistically,

Graham Howard

“Is it better to keep the piano switched on or off when not in use?”

Could you advise on whether or not it is better to keep the
digital piano switched on, rather than having it switched on and off
continuously throughout the day? My instincts tell me it’s better for the
digital piano and the environment to switch it off at all times when not in use,
but I wasn’t sure (it’s an old one, so I didn’t know if it was doing more harm
by turning it on and off 6 times a tday….).
Many thanks for your time and looking forward to hearing from you.

Reply/ I advise turning your piano off when it’s not
in use. This is more a safety issue really. But
it will also help preserve your piano’s life.

Yours pianistically,

Graham Howard

“What other actions would your recommend in maintaining a digital


I have question for you.

In a response a question on your web site (,
you stated:

“The CLP340 is a well-built piano and will last for 10+ years if looked

I have had a Clavinova hand me down that is about 12 years old.  It has been
the work horse of our family and has provided great service to our family
and children.  About the only thing we have done is dust it and teach the
children to treat it with respect.

Considering I am going to take delivery on a Clavinova CLP-340 here in a
couple of days, I found your comment interesting.

What other actions would your recommend in maintaining a digital piano.

Getting it tuned yearly? – Joking of course 😉

Thanks for your reply.

Reply/ Hi

Of course, if a digital piano is not played then it
should last over 30 years…

The main reason a digital piano has a shorter lifespan
than an acoustic piano is that the moving parts wear out.

The moving parts are made from plastic and metal. An
acoustic piano uses wood, felt and leather. This is
much harder wearing.

To maintain your piano you should keep it away from
direct sunlight, steam from cooking, and heat sources.

If you have to put it near a radiator then leave a
gap of at least 6 inches, and keep the heating on
as low a setting as you can live with.

Yours pianistically,

Graham Howard

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