Our fist visit was to Greensleeves Music, 4 Central Arcade,
Northallerton, North Yorkshire. The lady there was extremely helpful.
She played several pieces of music in different styles and tempos on a
Casio Privia, which was in my sister’s price range.
Our second visit was to a Music shop in the Metro Centre, Gateshead.
We were able to compare the sound of the Casio to that of a Roland
RP201. The Roland had the better sound and the higher price tag.
We later returned to Northallerton where the lady played the same piece
of music on several makes of pianos. My sister’s final choice was the
Kawai CN42M. We think it has a lovely tone and feel it is well worth the price we
negotiated. The staff
appreciated our returning to them to make the purchase.
The piano was delivered last Friday after being on order only four
days. Tomorrow we take it to my sister’s home. We are looking forward
to hearing it. Then, all she has to do is learn to play it!
Hi Graham Howard,
I got my piano 3 weeks ago.
Here’s what I wanted: the closest thing possible to an acoustic piano. My house isn’t that
big and the possibility of being able to use headphones eased the first
decision: to look for a digital piano. All those digital gizmos and gimmicks don’t
matter to me, in fact, the simpler the better. So, I wanted a good piano sound
and good piano feel no more than a touch of a button away. And, of course, the
cheaper the better.
After studying a bit to get to know the market – there I have to thank you for the great
article you wrote – I started visiting musical instruments stores and testing
the pianos. Immediately I realized I wouldn’t be satisfied with a digital piano
under 1000â‚¬: you can still tell pretty much from the first note it’s a digital
thing, the dynamics are so discrete and the speakers are too “ipod” if you know
what I mean.
In the end I was down to the following 2 models:
1. Yamaha CLP-340
2. Roland HP-305
At first, the Yamaha sound is pretty impressive. However, I got the idea it’s a “commercial”
sound in the way it may impress at first but in the long term it may became
kind of boring. The Roland, after the first bite which feels short of
brightness, becomes much richer and full. Also, the vibrancies, the notes
sounding by sympathy and the resonance it all felt so right. I know it’s
possible to fiddle around with the settings and tones with both those models,
but as I said, I wanted to be a touch of a button away from a piano and no more
than that. Closing my eyes, the Roland felt so much more a real piano than the
Yamaha and that was my primary goal. So I made my choice.
The next day I took my wife to see the piano and then the problems started. She got in
love with the polished black version of the Yamaha because it matches with our
living room decoration. Not my main concern on a piano, but that was a big
thing for her. But my mind was already made up for the Roland. So, after some bargaining,
I got a good price for the higher spec Roland model, the HP-307 in satin black,
which, aesthetically is alright for my wife and for me is just as good sounding
as the HP-305 only more expensive.
These last 3 weeks I’ve been playing it a lot. I’m not a pianist and never had piano lessons (apart from self-studying), so
I won’t be able to say whether the key touch is good or not. For me the keys
weight is very close to what I’ve experienced on acoustic pianos before and
dynamics are very easy to produce. However I studied classical music and
instruments (mainly the violin but also classic guitar among others), so I feel
comfortable saying that the sound is as natural as it gets which was, after all,
what I was looking for. There’s a big backlit LCD display which I really don’t care
about, hundreds of great tones I only played once to see what was there,
thousands of settings inside the “Piano Designer” thingy which lets you configure your
own grand piano which is essentially BORING to me. The marketing feature I like
best is the key cover that you can slide half way hiding all the 21st century
buttons, LED lights and LCD displays when you’re playing the default grand
piano with default sound settings that is activated by default when you press
the on/off button.
Yours, Pedro Prats, from Portugal.
I haven’t finished reading your piano book yet — it is very informative! I appreciate you taking the time to try to educate people and offering assistance with decision-making.
I have a Kawai PN-80 (purchased used in 1999.) A while ago, it “quit working.” By that I mean that when turned on, there was a loud feedback/hum sound that was much louder than the other ((normal) piano sounds. I put the project aside and have just recently looked into fixing it or possibly getting a new piano. The motherboard will need to be replaced (for approx. $500 + labor) and there is no guarantee that will work. (The technician has a lot of experience and if anyone can fix it, he can.)
The store that I’m working with sells Roland and Kawai pianos. They have given me a price of $1795 for a new Roland RP-201. (She also said that we could get the next model up for ~$2300. I liked the feel of the Kawai. I didn’t use the voices other than piano very often. I’m a sight reader and play solely for my fun and relaxation. I play mostly classical and prefer baroque. I like to go back to the piano books I’ve been playing from since I was a child. I haven’t played for a couple of years so am anxious to get back to it! I’m probably at best a medium-level player. I also have an upright grand (rebuilt). I will get that tuned up after I get the digital piano resolved. I am used to acoustic pianos
As far as desired features, I doubt that I’ll ever want to turn on a Bossa nova beat and play “Begin the Beguine” with one finger of my right hand. At the same time, who knows if I may want to venture into other styles?
I was initially happy about the thought of simply replacing the board on the Kawai (which still can be done) but now am questioning whether I should just bite the bullet and get a new piano. $500 – $600 is a lot less that $1800 though…..
The piano is for my 11-year-old daughter who has been playing for about two years. She started with an Orla KX3 keyboard but the piano teacher at her new school recommended she moved on to a full-scale 88-key piano. The school is a state middle school (for ages 11-14) but offers a music option that means an extra hour of individual tuition on the instrument of choice, an hour of group instrument tuition, plus a normal music lesson with her class. She’s making really good progress now.
We have bought a Casio Privia 730 CY. The teacher had mentioned the Yamaha Clavinova range (they have one at the school in addition to a couple of normal pianos) and there was one version at the bottom of the range which would have been affordable but was a bit less ‘space-friendly’ than the Casio. We don’t have a very big flat and a few centimetres of depth actually make a big difference for us. We did, however, want a permanent instrument/piece of furniture rather than a keyboard+stand solution and read/saw several good reviews of the Casio (including a YouTube one). The Yamaha was also very well reviewed.
My daughter tried out both the Casio and the most similar Yamaha Clavinova (it was a CLP something); we did the tests you suggested on things like key noise, movement, sustain etc, and she liked both. If she’d much preferred the feel and sound of the Yamaha, the choice would have been harder.
Fingers are now crossed that the Casio Privia lives up to our expectations.
I am planning to purchase a piano, and in my online search i did found your
And it was actually very helpful because you have changed my opinions.
I was trying to choose between Hemingway DP 501 RW and Yamaha YDP 141 Arius
Because in the store they are in the same price range (hemingway is about
620 euro and Yamaha is 680 euro) i thought the technical differences are not
significant therefore, Hemingway was my first option (as it fits better
in my living-room :p )
But after reading your book and more technical details about the two models,
i have decided that Yamaha is the best choose.
After that, I have discovered that actually they are not in the same price
range, as the Yamaha is on sale and it should have a price close to 840
So, i am going to purchase the Yamaha (unless you have other suggestion for
this price range)
I also have my first piano lesson this Sunday, and I’m looking forward to
I had a little electronic organ as a kid, and i enjoyed it a lot.. until it
I believe playing piano is a nice and relaxing hobby and i can’t wait to
start playing again, although i don’t really have the appropriate age for
this (I’m 26…)
Thank you a lot for your book, and also for the email.
Have a nice day,
Just wanted to let you know, a few weeks ago we’ve bought a CLP320 from
Clavis, a dealer in The Netherlands.
We’ve done quite a bit of research in shops and used a lot of the
information in your book. First choice was easy, Roland versus Yamaha. The
Roland sound isn’t even coming close to a real piano, Yamaha is much better.
Then we focused in on a few Arius models, the CLP320 and the CLP330. The
sound of the Arius models couldn’t match the CLP320 and CLP330. The latter
two where closest together. It may have been suggestion, but I thought the
sound of the 320 was slightly more realistic, but the location in the shop
where we tried may have been some cause too. And yes, the 330 keyboard does
play slightly better, specially in fast pieces, but is the difference really
worth all the marketing noise? So when we found that basically the choice
was between two both good playing and sounding pianos, but with or without a
bunch of electronics frills one might discuss the value of at the price
difference, we ended choosing the CLP320. We have bought it for the 18th
birthday of one of our sons. He is playing about 12 years on an acoustic
piano and we’re expecting him to move out soon, so he has his own piano. At
the moment the two instruments are standing next to each other but he is
playing the CLP320 mostly, it works for him and he likes it. So far it
really looks we made a good choice.
Many thanks for your help and best regards,
I went to a piano store that had the YDP240 and CLP digital pianos. I was able to play on many different ones and I’m soooo glad you suggested the CLP series because I now understand how much better that piano is compared to the YDP line. I reread your book “7 things your must know…” very carefully and wrote down everything I needed to look for when I went to the piano store.
The sales person spent 2 hours with me. I tried 4 units (YDP 240; CLP 320, CLP-330, CLP-340). The YPD had an very light feel, similar to my EZ-200 keyboard. The 320 seemed to have an overly weighed feel. The keys just seemed too heavy to play. The 330 had a nice sound but I still didn’t like the touch. The 340 instantly won me over. I loved the feel and the sound of the piano. Even though I really don’t need the bells and whistles that the 340 has vs the fewer bells and whistles of the 330 and the no frills version of the 220, the 340 felt sooooo good. It was so comfortable that I know I’ll be constantly looking forward to playing it. If the 320 had the same feel and sound, I would have taken it.
I was aiming for the sales person to give me a price around 20-25% off of the MSRP and I was shocked that she gave me around 23% off without even the need to bargain. Overall I got a great price, great service and a beautiful new digital piano.
I wasn’t planning on buying the digital piano so soon. I was hoping to practice a little longer on the keyboard I have (since I just bought it a month ago) and save some money for the big purchase. But when you emailed me back with the suggestion to try the clp line, I got so excited. I researched everything I could find about the clps on the Internet every free moment I had and couldn’t wait to see how it feels and hear its sound. I wanted to go on my first day off to the only piano store in my area that had them about 45 minutes away. I called the store to set up an appointment and get the MSRPs so that I would be prepared on what price to bargain towards. I thought for sure that the store would only go down a hundred or two. I was expecting to say I’ll have to think about it and maybe later try to find another store further away. I really didn’t think they’d give me the price I wanted and end up purchasing it right away. So to compromise
not wanting to buy something right away, I decided to pay half now and the other half in a month and get it delivered in March.
Thanks you again a million gazillion times for your wonderful advice, support and taking the time to respond to my email. You really are an angel.
Sincerely, enthousiastically, and thanking you greatly,
I found the information in your documents and www.ukpianos.co.uk very helpful.
I also spoke with my niece who is a piano teacher. She recommended I
consider a real piano. However, I said this was not practical, mainly
because they are much heavier, like 200Kg compared to 50Kg for an electric
version. Although we would not move it very often, we do need to make space
when opening the dining table, especially at Christmas!
I had previously used a Yamaha Portatone PSR-530 but wanted an electric
piano which has a more piano feel to it.
My niece also offered the following advice: as a general rule you need to
ensure that the electric piano you choose has weighted keys and that the
keys are touch sensitive. The weighted keys are closer to a piano feel, as
on a real the piano you have the weight of the hammer to move before it will
hit the string. You will need a touch sensitive one as there is nothing
more annoying than not being able to play the dynamics of a piece. It will
feel very different to your Portatone, but in some ways easier to play.
I visited Andertons’ showroom in Guildford and spent an hour or so on my own
tinkering with their range of Yamaha and Roland. I’m pleased I did that
after my internet review, also pleased I did not go on internet advice only.
I was considering the Yamaha Clavinova CLP320 and Classenti CDP2.Trying the
real thing is so much better than just reading reviews. I was also able to
look at models of the keyboard mechanisms, which are similar to the real
piano but with electronic sensors rather than strings. The shop was good
because there were no sales people hovering over me, I only called them when
I wanted a demonstration or explanation of some of the features. Luckily
also, the shop seemed to specialise in guitar and percussion and most
customers were in those departments!
I preferred the feel, sound and touch of the Roland HP300 series (everything
in fact – perhaps that is why Roland is more expensive than Yamaha). The
keyboard was slightly lighter to the touch with a good range of dynamics. I
liked the overall sound and combination of harmonics, can’t explain in words
of course. I didn’t like any of the wood finishes on any of the pianos, they
looked too artificial. The polished black ebony was rather nice, but showed
the dust and finger marks too much. Roland have a rather nice satin black.
Their keyboard cover works well – you can pull it slightly forward and down
to cover the controls to create the visual illusion of a real piano.
The Classenti being an internet only purchase meant that I could not see and
try before buying.
All the HP300 series have the same mechanics, action and piano sound.
The HP307 is too expensive and has more electronic features than I want.
The only apparent difference between the HP302 and 305 is that the latter
has a more powerful amplifier and speakers and the key-tops are ivory
coloured with an “ivory feel” rather than white and for this, one pays an
So, I bought HP302 in satin black from Andertons. I have used it for a
couple of weeks now and am not disappointed. I am working my way through the
book “It’s never too late too late to play piano” by Pamela Wedgwood.
Thank you for the piano course. For the moment I have kept the notes on
file. Unfortunately I have not had access to the piano. It is in my mums house
and I have not had the opportunity to visit. We have always had a piano and as
a child I did have lessons but did not enjoy them. I used to play the piano by
ear. I never learned to read the music. My father was a pianist and left
behind a baby grand.
A few years ago I learned to read music whilst learning spanish acoustic
guitar. My heart was always with the piano. Whenever I go to my mums house I
tinkle for ages. My plan is to have my own piano upright at my own house and
then play whenever I want.
Unfortunately this will not happen for a while as I have just been made
redundant. I was out of work for nine months and then got a job which has only
lasted four months. It is difficult finding a job.
I appreciate your help with the course. I have kept it for a time when I will
be able to spend the time learning. For the moment I cannot think about it as
my world has crashed. But it will always be my goal to learn to play the piano
properly. My dad could read music but didn’t he just played without it. My
brother is a musician on the cruise ships. My sister sings. I think we are a
musical family and music is always there.
THhnk you and good luck with everything.
Kind regards, Anna
I effectively did an about turn and chose a stage piano. Having gone to a local piano shop and tried out some Clavinova’s (330, 340, 370), I was struck by two things.
Firstly, I found the sound coming out from the underside cabinet speakers of each (including the 370 which had a different speaker arrangement to the 330 and 340) to be very ‘muddy’: a far cry from what is produced with a good set of headphones. And I also realised that I simply did not like the look of the Clavinovas as pieces of furniture. Sat beside genuine uprights in the piano shop, they looked cheap and bland: like a piece of MDF furniture trying too hard to impress and failing all the more for the effort.
Then the penny dropped. A significant component of the price of these pianos (perhaps £200 to £400 pounds) was for the cabinet furniture along with the amplifier and submerged floor-facing speakers. Take these away, and one is left with the core of the instrument: a keyboard with samples and controls. So why pay extra for stuff I don’t like? Why not simply get a stage piano which would be easier to move anyway, given that I change address regularly on account of my work?
So, after some additional research, and reading a good range of user reviews, I plumped for a Yamaha CP-33. I was familiar with the keyboard action (which I liked) from the Clavinovas and could (it seemed) effectively get the same piano, without the cabinet and unsatisfactory speaker system for around £500 less. Studio monitor speakers could be added at will, giving me control oversound output. And the reviews I read were overwhelmingly favourable: “a lot of piano for the money” as one reviewer put it.
Whether I agree with these reviewers, time will tell.
I am looking for a digital piano for my adult son who has just decided to learn to play. (His father was a very good pianist, but having exited from our lives very quickly, was not around to encourage this before.) He finishes 4 years at uni this summer and will effectively be having a year off, just doing some
writing work with me. But I suggested that he also take the opportunity to pursue some other endeavours that interested him and he came up with the idea of learning to play the piano and also improve his drawing/painting skills.
A piano teacher I contacted to ask about digital pianos rather than standard ones said that would be fine as long as it had weighted keys and also said
that yamaha clavinovas were very good. (I have had 2 back ops and been left with leg and back problems so the idea of having a really heavy, big piano in the house was not really ideal.)
Since then I have been looking at digital pianos available on ebay – some are yamaha, one is a roland, which I read somewhere was also a very good make and very expensive when bought new. Then there are casios, gears 4 music, etc – the latter of which I was very dubious about and which have confused me even more. I ditched some because they only had touch sensitive keys and an ebay seller said he thought that was different to weighted keys. I also ditched ones without 3 pedals, so we would have all 3 if necessary!
I have seen a yamaha CLP 370 on ebay, which has wooden and fake ivory keys, to replicate ‘real’ pianos and a roland hp 337e – just because it is the
least expensive roland. However, I am quite now on bidding for a yamaha CVP204 – for which the auction ends tomorrow. It seems to have a lot which I
think my son would like – with a large LED for notation, lyrics and parameters, etc, as well as all the potential of recording and so forth.
There is also a very nice yamaha 131 in scotland, but I read that these are quite basic, although fine for beginners – which, of course, my son will be. But i am thinking that since he will probably persevere with the piano, as it would be a useful adjunct to his interest in possible comedy/scriptwriting/acting and voiceover work for the future, that it may be as well to spend a bit more – within reason – now in the first place. And since he is very into gadgets, too, I thought that the 204 might be the one. (I have just shown it to him and he was quite keen, whilst pointing out that at this stage, like me, he has no real idea of what would be best or not.
Good morning, Graham.
After you emailed my confirmation of address, I was able to download your
report on 7 Things to know before you buy a digital piano. I appreciated the
chance to add to my limited knowledge of digital pianos.
In addition to all you gave me, I searched three music stores, looking primarily
at Yamaha, Kawai, Kurzweil and Korg. In the end, I purchased a Korg SP250
from Kraft Music in Wisconsin, USA. I know the other three brands have a
higher value, but also a higher cost. This model has 88 keys, 60 note polyphony,
graded hammer action, adjustable reverb & chorus, 3 touch responses,
metronome, built-in dual-cone speakers matched to a pair of 11 w amplifiers,
high-quality damper pedal, etc. I am in my mid-70s, wanted to hear the piano
in our home (no Kurzweils, work stations, etc.), wanted portability for the few
playing engagements I have, and wanted to be reasonable in the money spent.
(I also have a Casio WK 3200 keyboard, with a million lovely sounds, but an
inadequate piano sound for playing gigs.)
I purchase from Kraft Music because they had the model and price I had in
mind, offered free shipping, and allowed me to see and hear the pianos in
action played by technicians on You tube videos. Google Kraft Music,
Wisconsin, because I think it is a company you should add to your list of
American firms. In my Massachusetts home, I have a 1913 Knabe Grand Piano,
which is, of course, a horse of a different color.
Thank you for your information on digital pianos. They are always changing as when one buys one it is quickley outdated. I was wondering why you have no reviews on the lastest Roland offerings. For example the HPi7, with digital screen on the music rest. I have played this and it sounds extraordinary, but the action is VERY VERY noisy. It has excapement, and feels good to play, but the noise it loud. I am sure my accoustic piano does NOT make that much noise! Whst do you think of these Roland pianos?
Also lasy year I bought a Yamaha CVP505PE. It has great sound quality and is a lovely digital piano with lots and lots of buttons to push and an extraordinary interface. But I will NEVER ever use all the features and different sounds it has on it. The speaker system is fantastic, as the speakers are actually in an enclosed box. Unlike most digital pianos where the sounds just boom all over the inside of the cabinet and produce a “coloured” boomy sound.
One thing I hate about the CVP 505 is the action. It feels awful and false and far too hard. When playing it my finger get sore as the bottom of the keystroke is as hard as concrete. It also has a very string “upwards” spring feel. I can’t play it properly at all – it feels uncomfotable and unpleasant to play. I tried to play Schubert on it last week and it was impossible. I went back to my accoustic piano. Even the notes are made uneven when one looks at the keyboard from the side! Some stick out more than others! Have you noticed this? I think Yamaha should make vast improvements on their actions. I will never by another Yamaha digital piano. I am trying to sell this CVP505. I paid $9,995.00AU for it and I have only been offered $4000.00 for it. It’s really sad. What do you think it it worth? It is in as new pristine perfect condition.
I just thought I should share my experience of my Yamaha digital piano with you. I love pianos and spend a great deal of time teaching and playing.
Mike Smyth BEd (Music), AMusA (Pianoforte) MIMT