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Digital Piano Buyer's Guide

 Free Digital Piano Buyer's Guide:

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

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You get all this:

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 store?

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Secondhand Yamaha or Techinics?

Hello Graham,

Thanks for your Free Piano Guide, which has proved invaluable as a novice looking to
buy a piano for my children.

I note you recommend not buying anything second hand over 5 years of age, but I’ve
seen this Yamaha Clavinova CL-950 on ebay (which I believe is circa 10 yrs old).

It seems to tick all the boxes you’ve mentioned. Guess I want some final reassurance
that it is a suitable choice given it is on sale for £500+.

Any further help or words of wisdom very welcome.



Reply/ Hi Mark

The CLP950 is OK, but not nearly as good as
the current models, of course. But for someone
learning it will be fine.

I recommend getting the piano checked out
before you buy it. Just in case it’s in need of
any repairs.

Yours pianistically,

Graham Howard

Resources: Read Reviews |  Which digital piano to buy

Hello Graham Howard,

What a lovely site you made, thanks for all the advises I got from your book
for buyers of a dgp!
Now- I found this used Yamaha CLP 930 Clavinova  for sale in a city fairly
close to me:

I shall here do my best to translate the salestext from danish:
"Electric piano, darkwood, in very fine condition. 3 pedals and a lot of
functions, midi in/out- to be connected to PC. 88 weighted hammers -* 4-5
hammers are hanging and need to be fixed* (presumed expence 50-70 £).
Bought as new in 2001 for the sum of 1150 £, receit intact. Weighs 50 kg."

Now – I made a bid on this of 240 £, and the seller accepted it.

I need a dgp for myself and my 10 year old boy, who has been taking lessons
for three years now.

Do you think the hammers can be fixed? Is there anyway I can test this- if I
go out to see it?

From what I read in your advises, I think this CLP-930 covers what we need.
I know it is out of production now, but I think it should be possible to
send it to service- since it´s a Yamaha.

The sales text says that it is 5 years old, not really used and in perfect
I have surfed around to get info about it, I think it is an ok dgp.This
model is also out of production, but I read somewhere on the internet, that
Panasonic will service Technics dgps for some years from now. Is´nt it
reasonable to believe that the local musicstore will take it in for service,
if something need to be fixed with it in the future?

I like the design of this model. You do not mention any of the Technic´s
models in your book, so what I am concerned about is how the hammers a
weighted on this model. Do you know? Do you happen to know of any problems
with this model?

I like this one over the cpl-930, but the price is also more than the

And I am on a single mother´s budget….

Hope you can help me out on my concerns

And again, thank you for making a fantastic site of lovely advises. I think
you´re a pretty cool guy!

Happy new year!

Louisa from Denmark

Reply/ Hi Louisa

Both the Yamaha CLP-930 and Technics SX-PX663 are
very old digital pianos.

They were really good pianos when they were made.
But you can find much more realistic pianos today…

Technology has advanced quite a lot since these
pianos were produced.

You have to be careful when buying a
secondhand digital piano…

Repairs can be very costly on secondhand
pianos. And that's if the parts are still

I advise going for a brand new digital piano.
Choose from any one of these models:

Yamaha YDP140
Classenti CDP1
Kawai CL25

Yours pianistically,

Graham Howard

"How much do these second hand Yamaha digital pianos cost?"

Graham, thank you for providing such a great service. Please can you tell me roughly
how much these Yamaha models would cost to buy second-hand (assuming perfect
working order and good condition): CLP430, CLP440, CLP470, CLP480. I appreciate
it's currently quite rare to find these models available second-hand. Thanks for your time.


Reply/ Hi Tom

We don’t have any of these second-hand
at the moment.

But, if some came up, then you could expect
them to be about 20-25% off the new price
if you buy from a shop… and maybe 30%-
40% off if you buy privately.

Bear in mind, if you buy privately you don’t
get any guarantee.

Yours pianistically,

Graham Howard

Clavinova CVP8 – good for a beginner?

I have seen a CLAVINOVA CVP 8 for sale and wonder if this might be a good
place for a beginier to start?

I can't find any reviews anywhere so wonder if can tell me anything about
this model?

I guess it must be quite old..?

Kind regards


Reply/ Hi John

The Yamaha CVP8 was made in the year 2000.
A digital piano that's 9 years old is likely
to be in need of a full service, and possible
replacement parts (if you can get them).

I advise you to go for something brand new.
I know the cost is a lot higher, but you get
the peace of mind of a long guarantee.

Technology has advanced a lot since the year
2000. So modern digital pianos offer a much
more realistic sound, and touch.

If you want to keep your budget as low as
possible then I recommend either the Yamaha
YDP140, or the Classenti CDP1.

You can read more about these pianos here:

Yours pianistically,
Graham Howard
UK Pianos

Is a second-hand Yamaha CLP 820 for the sum of £425.00 a good buy?

I wonder if you can advise me as to wether this is a good buy or not, I have
negotiated a second-hand Yamaha CLP 820 for the sum of £425.00. It appears
in good condition and the owner says it was bought new but rarely used and
has basically been an item of furniture in their front room since bought.

We are purchasing it for my daughter and myself to hopefully learn on, my
sister-in-law is a piano teacher and thinks it sounds ok but has no
experience of buying second-hand and we are complete novices!

I wonder if you would be so good as to advise us as to how old this model
could be, if the price being looked for is good value and if there are any
common problems that we should be aware of when purchasing this model

We would really value your advice!

Many thanks!



Reply/ Hi Jill

The Yamaha CLP820 is a mid range CLP.
not sure of the age, but it's more than
5 years.

Today's new price would be well over £1,000, so
,providing it is in good condition then it
would be a good purchase.

There is a series of simple tests you can do
on a secondhand digital piano yourself. Here's
some of the main ones:

1) Play every note to make sure they sound

2) Check all pedals work

3) Test every button on the control panel

4) Play some chords around the centre of the piano
and listen for any unusual sounds

5) Check the volume button doesn't make a crackling
noise when turned up, and down

6) Turn the sound completely off. Then play the keys.
If they are very rattly then there could be some wear
and tear.

7) Check the side to side movement of the keys. It
shouldn't be excessive

8) Play each key to make sure none stick down, or
return slowly.

Yours pianistically,
Graham Howard
UK Pianos

How does the KR650 compare with a present day digital piano?

Hi Graham. Congratulations on writing a really useful primer for digital pianos. I have a Roland KR650 which I bought secondhand
about 8 years ago. I realise that it won't go on for ever as I think it dates back to the 1990's. When I replace it I would be
happy with far fewer facilities, but something which feels even more like an acoustic piano which I also play. In your opinion,
how does the KR650 compare with a present day digital piano? In which  area does it's performance suffer from obselete technology? 

Am I right in thinking that it doesn't have a Graded Hammer Action and should I go for this next time? Many thanks again for writing
such a useful book. John

Reply/ Hi John

Modern digital pianos have a much nicer
piano sound and  a more responsive key touch.

The KR650 is very old, and I would imagine it
has quite a bit of wear to it. When keys
wear out they become noisy.

Let me know if you would like help choosing
a new piano.

Yours pianistically,

Graham Howard

Hi Graham,

Thanks for your writeup on digital pianos, it is a very helpful resource. I was wondering if you can share some insights as I am looking to upgrade from my current Yamaha P85 to something newer with better sound quality and looks.

I am currently considering either the Casio AP250 or Yamaha YDP S31 as I can get these 2 models for a reasonable price. The reviews are not the greatest for either them I think, but they do seem to be better pianos than P85? I am not totally sure if this is the case, so will appreciate some of your views on them.

Alternatively if these 2 are not considerably different or better than P85, I am also considering the Yamaha CLP430. This will be quite a step up in terms of the cost, but from what I found out so far, it seems to be worth the extra money and a good safe buy for the longer term and for progressing. Btw, I have been learning for a couple of years, but am still pretty much at a very elementary level.

Any advice and insights will be much appreciated. Thank you very much.


Reply/ Hi Lam

The pianos you mention, with exception to the CLP430,
are all discontinued. Have you seen them for sale
second hand?

The CLP430 is in a different league to the others.
It has a much nicer piano tone. It sounds closer
to a real piano.
The CLP430 also has a more resistant and more
sensitive key touch… so it feels like playing the
a piano too.

If your budget allows, go for the CLP430.

Otherwise, the Roland RP301 is worth a look.
It costs about £500 less, and is very nice.

Yours pianistically,
Graham Howard

I have sold my old acoustic piano but would like to replace it with a digital instrument

Dear Sir,

I wonder if you can help.  I am looking at purchasing a digital piano.  I have just sold my old acoustic piano but would like to replace it with a digital instrument that has a number of voices, especially piano (of course!), church organ, harpsichord and strings.  I know that there are new models available around the £700-£800 mark, but I have an opportunity to buy a second-hand CVP-205.  I have seen and played it and was very impressed by the quality of the sound and the wide range of voices available (especially those that I am particularly looking for).  I am told that it hasn't been played very much (the lady selling it inherited it from her mother) and the case is certainly in pretty good condition apart from a few small scratches near the music rest and on the legs.  I am also told that it is four years or so old.  An engineer has just been to visit to reconnect the pedals to the main electronics (as they weren't working, apparently after the instrument was last moved) and has advised her that she should be asking around £1,000 for it.  She tells me that it was some £2,700 new.

What would you advise?  I like the instrument but don't want to part with £1,000 – I might have offered £800 but would like your take on whether or not this is a bargain or something to stay away from.

Many thanks,


Reply/  Hi Stephen

I think £1000 seems reasonable (but a little risky is something
were to go wrong with the piano).

Repairs on digital pianos are very expensive — £100 +

The problem with the pedal doesn't give confidence.

I would try to negotiate for around £700 – £800. 

Yours pianistically,
Graham Howard
UK Pianos

Questions & Answers About

Portable Pianos
Secondhand Digital Pianos
Digital Piano Valuing
Digital Piano Dimensions
Piano Keys
Digital Piano Rhythms
Progressive or Graded Hammer Action
Digital Grand Pianos
Maintaining Digital Pianos

Questions About Brands



Digital Piano Reviews

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