I’ve been reading your circulars for a while, and have waded through your guide from time to time. But now the time has come to make decisions.
I should say straight away: I don’t play. I really don’t. Wish I did, but there you are.
My Son does though. He’s 22 and pretty musical – plays acoustic, electric and bass guitar, drums, piano – and sings.
We have a Broadwood ‘bar-less’ baby grand piano, so he’s used to a proper action. We also have a Hammond M101 which he uses sometimes for organ music. Unfortunately those are both now in storage as we are moving house – and more to the point he is now a student and will be living in small flats and things for the next few years. We therefore need to think of how he can to continue to play, and I would like to find something to buy for him to allow him to do this.
My thinking – and you are welcome to disagree – is this:
He will have access to good pianos in the future when he performs, and to the Broadwood again when he eventually has room for it.
The purchase of an electronic piano is therefore as an alternative, to help him continue playing when he might otherwise not be able to.
The BIG advantages of an electronic piano are versatility and portability, and these will persist even when he has the Broadwood again. I think we need to make the most of these, rather than trying to get the very best piano-like experience for him. That way an electronic piano will continue to be of use to him for a long time.
So I don’t think we are looking for a stand-up electronic piano that sits in the corner looking for all the world like a real upright. That is surely a main piano for people who have no room for the real thing.
I think we are probably looking for something nearer to what you call a ‘Stage Piano’.
On the other hand it does not need to be all that light. It can be pretty heavy, in fact. It just needs to be possible to carry it around and set it up in different places, even if it takes two people to do it.
To me that implies a full 88-key keyboard, probably on a strong X-stand, with plug-in foot pedals. But it also implies a good, weighted action which will enable him to transfer his skills to the real thing when it’s available.
Sound is a tricky one. It should probably be capable of producing a reasonable sound as it stands, but it is likely to be played through a separate sound system much of the time, so on-board sound is not really critical so long as it is capable of good sound through external equipment or headphones. MIDI output would also be useful of course.
My target price is somewhere between £500 and £900. I know this is wide, and I’d even be prepared to go outside it if you think there is an ideal machine out there for us, but I’m looking for your advice on the kind of machines which would fit the requirements and have very little idea what can be bought for the money.
I’d love your thoughts.
As for buying; I would happily buy from you if that can be arranged. Or if you think there is somewhere local I should go to please feel free to tell me.
Best wishes. And keep up the good work; I’ve passed your guide on to quite a few people!
Reply/ Hi Richard
The Kurzweil MPS10 and Roland FP60 would
both be suitable for your son.
They’re really good pianos and have a realistic
key feel and lovely piano tone. There’s little
to choose between them, but I would say that
the Kurzweil sound is a bit fuller and has more
You can see them here:
They can both be connected to an external amp.
Although with the Kurzweil it’s probably not necessary
because of its large volume range.
Graham Howard, Piano Adviser
Send me an email if you have any questions or need advice: firstname.lastname@example.org
“I’m looking for a portable piano”
I’m looking for a piano that will be moved reasonably frequently and needs to be portable – at least two gigs a month – have a yamaha keyboard that is about twelve years old and I have been doing some work with a choir using a
variety of pianos and just feel I would like to a) replace the keyboard and b) go towards an instrument that feels more like a piano. Had a little try out of the p35 and p105 last week as we were on holiday and quite liked the feel.
The piano might be good for working with the choir as you can not always guarantee the quality (tunefulness etc) of a piano at a venue when it is a small ladies choir that does mainly church halls.
Then the Yamaha P115 is my recommendation.
It’s very popular.
But, if you’re not in a hurry, there’s a new
Roland coming out soon.
It’s the FP-30.
You can see it here:
The FP30 has a much nicer feel to the keys than
the Yamaha P115. It has more resistance, so the
feeling is closer to a real piano.
I also prefer the Roland’s depth of tone. The
sound is warmer… more Steinwayish.
Now, the only downside is its physical weight.
Because it has a hammer action and wooden
body, its overall weight is more than the P115.
But this is definitely worth sacrificing for all
We’re getting the first batch of FP-30’s in.
So let me know if you’d like to reserve one.
“Which portable piano will be good for my daughter?”
I bought a Yamaha Clavinova from you back in 2011.
My daughter is progressing well and on to grade 2 now. I’m looking for a portable Yamaha keyboard we can take with us to France and IOW on holiday. Any ideas on which model would be good? She enjoys singing and making up songs to the preloaded tunes and playing other sounds, as well as recording what she does.
Reply/ Hi Charles
Well, the Yamaha P105 springs to mind as
being the most suitable one…
It has a nice key touch and a really good
It is also lightweight and compact. So easy
enough to carry around with you.
As far as additional features go, it has
a two-track recorder, which I think will
be useful for your daughter.
“Korg SP170S or SP280?”
I haven’t owned a piano in several years, and I’m now thinking of buying a stage piano.
I have also played various organs and keyboards for about 30 years, and have always used Yamaha and Korg.
I currently has a Korg PA and a Korg workstation and want a Stage Piano to go in my A frame.
Obviously I’ve been thinking of either a Sp170S or Sp280 as a portable piano.
Reading your reviews has made me think, “Am I getting the right instrument?”
I want as realistic sound and action as possible but at the best possible price.
What would you recommend ?
P.S. Great website, loads of info.
Reply/ Hi Jane
There’s two portable pianos I’d like to recommend
for you: Yamaha P105 and Korg SP280.
Choosing between them is quite difficult though…
I’ve thoroughly tested both these pianos on
different aspects of key touch and sound quality.
The overall key touch scoring is almost identical.
They both have a nice weighted touch with
adequate resistance both on the down and
The Yamaha does sound cleaner though…
There’s just has a hint more pureness to its tone.
You can see the Yamaha here:
And the Korg here:
“Portable piano under £600”
I am interested in buying a digital piano and am a bit overwhelmed by the choice on offer. I have had an acoustic piano (1980s Schimmel) for a long time but am looking for something in addition which I can use to practice in the evenings after work when the kids are in bed, so good action is more important than sound quality if there needs to be a trade-off to keep the price in the range below about £600.
To add some more constraints, my wife is keen for it to take as little space as possible so a slab would be best as that can be put away more easily. Finally, I want my kids to use it to start learning so again the close the action to a good acoustic piano the better.
What would you recommend, please?
Many thanks in advance.
It seems that a portable piano is the one
that would be most practical for you needs.