Dear Mr. Howard,
I wrote to you originally simply to obtain some information about digital pianos generally. My wife and I ujsed to own a Challen baby grand but it was too large for our small bungalow and we had both ceased practising for quite a long time. We used to [play a few Chopin etudes but one really has to keep up this sort of thing. Having got rid of our piano we happened to wander into Comet where they had on display a few keyboards that they were discontinuing and selling off at a reduced price. We got a full length keyboard and later on got a stand for it – all very compact and sporty looking. One of the keys did not work. We got over the irritation by treating ourselves to a rather attractve looking Yamaha complete with wooden base (DGX-500). This model is now out of date, probably because, for recording purposes, it uses a floppy disk. To be honest, it does not get used very much but it is very compact and looks nice! My only musical activity is attempting orchestration with Apple’s Garageband. For this purpose I have acquired another keyboard, an M-Audio four octave one – very light weight and handy for use with a computer. I am not really in tune with Apple’s emphasis on pop music and find that orchestral sounds are easier to imagine than to achieve. But it is quite an adventure.
I am sorry to send you such an unsatisfactory communication and wish you every success in persuading people to buy good pianos.
Many thanks and every good wish
I LOVE THE classenti key bed I cant find another piano out there that feels
SO HEAVY BUT SO GOOD!!! (You’ve got me addicted man!)
I tried the Nord Piano it was to put it bluntly CRAP!! The keys were sooooo
light, Same with the Yamaha motif xf8. The korg sp250… well Yep we both
know what is like, I went through kawai’s, roland hp’s, I HAVE TO ADMIT THIS
THOUGH.. THE ROLAND HPi7F? IS AMAZING! I scored 98% on the hannon
exercises & 72% on the playing songs bit as my rhythm is not there yet.. but
it wasn’t bad, NOT BAD AT ALL!! But £3,000 for a digital piano? Just ain’t
I tried the Roland fp4/7f and there great BUT a fp4f is coming
out shortly and the fp7f is £1500? It makes sense to put in £500 more & get
the RD700NX.. The RD700NX ivory keys did feel AMAZING.. But I don’t want to
spend £2000 on a stage piano YET..
That’s my problem, I want a BETTER piano sound than this cdp1 & 128 note
polyphony BUT I cant find a heavy key action like it…
Thanks for the video, it’s a wonderful idea.
Thanks for this, it did make me smile!
Thank you so much for the information you put together for us who wanted to
invest in for a nice piano. My son, 6 years old, who has been taking piano
lesson for 3 years has developed high interest in playing the piano. We bought
him a keyboard(Yamaha YPT 300) when he was 2, not having the expectation that
eventually he would love music. He could easily learn new pieces now and really
plays well. Without much adu, I need to upgrade the keyboard to a digital
After reading your book, I have decided to buy yamaha CLP 330 which has the
features that my son would like as he advances to a higher level. At the same
time, it is in a mid-range price, not too pricey but will plan to keep it for a
long time. Since I have given myself a higher budget, I wanted to inquire more
information about this model/brand. I was informed the Roland is better than
yamaha meaning the sound is closer to an acoustic piano which really surprises
me. I went to a showroom that’s having a liquidation sale in our area, tested
them and can easily distinguished the sound differences between the two.
I really appreciate your feedback. Again, thank you so much for establishing a
website for us all that wanted to have a better insight about something of a
Thanks for a lot of information about digital pianos.
I will be buying a piano at the end of the summer and I am now trying to find out which one would be good for us.
Us means me and my son of 7. He would like to go for piano lessons, and I always wanted to.
With the start of a new school year the lessons will start, and I will also give it a shot.
This means we are starters.
At this moment I think of the yamaha clavinova series. clp320pe, clp330pe or clp340pe.
Black suits best in our living room. My son likes keyboard better than piano, but they say it is easier to switch to
keyboard than vise versa. Digital piano’s also have more voices.
I will start with a hire/buy solution to be sure the piano will be used effectively.
We’ll see. After we buy one I will inform you. Thanks a lot.
Bart (the netherlands)
Thank you for the email and the information I found it very useful
I am in the market for a new electronic Piano. I currently have a PR40 (Technics) that I had for about 20 years. I haven’t been playing too much and have decided to take it up again for fun as I taught back in the 80’s but as I said have not played too much in the last 20 years. I purchased a Roland HP305 for my Daughter as a graduation present a year ago and saw the HP307 in which I thought I might like to look at when I was ready to buy one for myself. It is currently on sale at $4295.00 which was in my price budget I like the HP 307 but would like some left hand accompaniment options that the Yamaha 303 and 305 offer. I am currently negotiating price on these models along with the CLP380 (doesn’t have the Left Hand options and Drums) but really like the way it plays as well.
The Yamahas are all expensive and cost an extra 1000 for a black colour Model which I feel is quite insane. I also realize that I can buy these models on line in which I haven’t had a change to explore as of yet regarding shipping warranty and importing into Canada. I am a bit stuck on the quality difference (of the keyboard) between the Roland and the Yamaha and the difference between the 307 and the 503 & 505 and the difference between the 503 and the 505 alone as the 503 and the 380 are both in the affordable range for me but the 305 is overpriced in the black model.
I plan on going back to the dealer (in which they have been very helpful) and doing some testing on the piano’s based on some of the information that I have gathered.
Thank you & best regards!
Making a clean breast of my situation ….
Lat spring in 2010, I found a YAMAHA CP 33 stage piano
in England, the firm called ” WHYBUYNEW ” (discounted products,
showroom pieces, customer returns, DJ equipments etc.)
I bought it, but did use it a few times only ( I think, it could hear
something awfull for a pianist like You ).
Good news: the project is not lost, I’ll start my daily practice in may.
My first target is:
to develop my fingering practice, learn the chord progressions,
playing by ears, getting the method of playing pop, jazz, funky, blues etc…pieces.
IN 2010 I found my piano teacher ( bought the Rocket piano course).
The second purpose:
playing pop music in a “one-man band”… just in the family / circle of friends …
I know that You are a pianist, and remember, that not realy interested in “bells and whistles” …
but…. I suppose, that after having a practice a good arrangement, especially
a backing modul would be very usefull … today some instruments have very realistic, lifelike
sounds and backing functions ( Roland has just launced BK-7m) or style converting / creating system
( Roland GW8 arranger/workstation, affordable,very nice piano sound (like RD 70 Gx has) but the musician has to learn it, )…..
also would be an experience to replicate pop hits with a workstation…..
(a KORG M3 / Roland GW8 controlling with my Yamaha CP33 together for example)
The third item is about your product, Classenti:
In the recent past, I did not practice on my piano but spent many time studying products, makers..
Concerning the sound Yamaha and Roland are in demand
(Yamaha is more “tinkling”, Roland is “mellow / silky”) but none of them has a good
entry level instrument for beginners ( I mean all features together: realistic sound, heavy key touch
powerful speakers, strong body, and final but not the last… affordable…).
I agree with You, the key touch and sound are the most important things for a beginner.
Briefly some remarks:
— I have no realy experience about the Classenti make ( it seems having a good shape ),
— how it realy sounds, I mean if You have any sound recording (studio quality) please send it,
I have found 2 demo on YouTube (under the name grahamhowarduk) but the sound seems to be
realistic, but the quality does not reproduce the real one, probably it is made by microphone…
— I think Classenti has no representative in Europe but would be a good alternative, but
— in my opinion, selling a product by web store makes it’s price cheaper
but some of the elements of ” physical” shop-sales are indispensable (stock, showroom pieces, brochures etc..)
Yours sincerely, Gus
I purchased the Roland HP 302 in April because I really liked its sound, very vibrant. My only issue with it is the noisy keys, and I can hear the keys all over the house, especially when I’m working in the basement. I’m not sure if the Yamaha has noisy keys. I tried a Kawai CN33 and it has lovely quiet keys, unlike the Roland. I hear now that Roland is known for that. I also want a good quality build that will last for many years. I hear Casio Celviano is nice but not really built to last like Roland/Yamaha/Kawai models.
The point is, I have the ability next year to get 60% back in a cheque for what I paid for my piano, and that would be 60% of $2650. That way, I can pick the one I want. I found the Kawai too late and the CN33 only has 36 sounds while the CN43, also very lovely, was not in the store, but it has a better sound, keyboard and speakers from what I hear AND it has very quiet keys as compared to the Roland. My other option is waiting 3 years where I can can 70% of what I paid and put it toward a higher priced model, but that would be only a Roland or Yamaha because that’s all the store sells. So I would have better buying power doing it next spring as I can just get a cheque and put the $ I get back for the Roland toward another piano that I’d rather have.
I would like front legs, for stability, good keyboard with graded hammer action (I see from your notes that the Roland has medium hammer action), console (it goes in our living room so a stage piano just wouldn’t work in the decor), good speakers, and QUIETEST KEYS so I don’t hear them all over the house. I liked the touch of the Kawai but the CN43 which is the one I wanted was just way out of my price range.
I’m yet another one who has to decide which digital piano to buy.
I’ve been having classes for about a year and a half now. Although I only play on a keyboard regularly (excepet for my teacher’s piano, once a week), I’ve managed to improve a lot. I make do with the little keyboard, but it’s already way past the time I had a better nstrument.
For many reasons I’ve decided to buy a digital one and I’ll be doing so within the next two months. I’ve done many researches and come down to the follow models:
Casio AP220, Casio AP420
Yamaha CLP320, Yamaha CLP330
It’s quite hard to decide though – I’ve decided and re-decided many times and thought it wold be better to list down the features that I need the most, so tere they are:
Nice feel to the touch – I need to develop my fingers, and a nice action would be necessary.
CLP320: The cheapest one, it seems.
AP220 and CLP300: Three-sensor thing that allows fast repetitions. I’d really apreciate that!
AP420 and CN23: Ivory touch surface. I’ve never tried before, so I don’t know wether it’s really necessary or not for good development.
I think it would be important for me to get rid of that “Oh my god! This feels so much different to what I’m used to!” feeling that comes up every time I play on an acoustic piano.
Expressive dynamics – Dynamics and rythm are the things that I need to improve the most in my playing.
CLP320 and CLP330: Three leves dynamic layers.
AP220, AP420 and CN23: Four level dynamic layers.
I think it would be importatn to have the widest dynamic layer range as possible – Specially considering that I might need to develop more expressiveness faster than I thought. I don’t want to feel like I need to buy a different piano just because of that.
Nice Sound – Obviously important.
AP220 and AP420: Tone decays too fast! And it sounds a little too thin, like somethings missing… although I think it’s beautiful.
CLP320 and CLP330: Never actually tested those, so I don’t have an oppinion about it.
CN23: Sounds perfect! I really love it!! I haven’t played it myself, though…
I guess this topic pretty much puts the Casios aside.
Good pedal action – That’s a big deal for me. My teacher’s piano and the piano I’m going to present a recital this year have a very strong global/sympathetic ressonance. When the damper pedal is used, they resonate powerfully. I need to be prepared for this!
Casios and Yamahas: Seems to be a little too “thin”.
CN23: I’m not sure about it. All I know is that it features the possibility of adhusting the pedal ressonance to “strong”, but I don’t know if it would make ai actually better.
I guess those features are the most important to me. I think I’ve already put the Casios aside, so I only have to choose between the Yamahas and the Kawai.
The CLP330 and the CN23 cost the same price aroud here.
The plan was to connect the CLP 330 to PianoTeq, adjust the software to reproduce strong ressonances and make the sound come out through the piano speakers (Via AUX IN). It would be fantastic, but a little inconvenient because of the need of a computer everytime I wanted to practise more seriously.
Maybe the CN23 doesn’thave audio IN, but I might not need it because it might already attend to what I want, plus has Ivory touch surface on the keys and wider dynamic range!
But I might not have the budget to afford these, so I would have to stick wither with CLP320 or AP220. I’d definitely go for Casio in this case.
As you can see, I’m still pretty confused and I would really apreciate good help. I’ve considred the Classenti, but unfortunately they’re not avaliable in my country.
Dear Graham, thanks for the piano course,I found it quite useful. I’m 71 yrs old and happened to say to my best mate that I regretted not keeping up my piano lessons (from about 60+ years ago!),and he came back with “what’s stopping you now? It all snowballed from there.Within a week or so,I had bought a Yamaha Portable Grand electric piano,found your course and also fixed up for lessons with a young teacher! I have had one lesson so far and thoroughly enjoyed it-I said to “teacher” to start right at the beginning so it’s going to be a long job,I think.
I remember buying a digital piano made by a certain company that also makes watches and calculators – the keys were really poor and started clicking after a short period of time – the whole keyboard was then replaced but soon exhibited the same symptoms. I complained and the local agent then got me to try their up market model – the keys were much more responsive and quiet, but within a certain half-octave the timbre changed and tuning flattened slightly so you felt you’d changed instruments…then further up scale it changed back again. This model had 2 acoustic piano settings.
The local agent then got me to go to their shop and try the latest model within the range. This model had an even more improved keyboard response, but they’d cut the acoustic piano voices down to one – you’ve guessed it…they kept the one with the same dodgy change in timbre and tuning!
So, I ended up exchanging that make for a Roland HP103 instead! Not perfect, but heaps better.
Thank you so much for your advice!
I checked the ads again today and the DGX has been reduced to £150.
I thought that was a good deal and for that price, I probably wouldn’t mind trading up much sooner than I first planned.
So I think I’ll get the DGX for now. I also sing and it’ll help with the score reading
I have looked at the rental pianos and it’s definitely something I would like to consider for the future.
I’ll keep an eye on the website for the instruments you have available and maybe pop down to your store when we’re ready to upgrade.
Thank you very much for your book on digital pianos. I have only read part of it but it’s very interesting.
I was intrigued to give it a read as i bought my digital piano in 2004, a Yamaha Clavinova CLP150 (now discontinued).
I wanted your personal opinion on this model (if you have played one of course!). It does have graded hammer keys,
but i was intrigued to read what you wrote about touch sensitivity. I’m not learning to play, i have played for
A friend of mine may be looking to rehome an upright traditional piano which is a Bentley. It doesn’t have a “high”
sound board like most traditional pianos, but has a nice light touch to play, even though it needs tuning now!
I am in abit of a dilemma, my digital piano is great when you want to put the headphones on if it’s early in the
morning etc as i live in a ground floor flat but you can’t compare it to a traditional piano.
Here are a few random thoughts on my investigations so far. These thoughts are based purely on written information and musical examples found on the Internet. I always hook up my PC to my Hi Fi so I get excellent sound quality (or as good as the example offers). I have not yet tried any pianos to confirm or repudiate these thoughts.
• Roland – Seems that you either love them or hate them? I found from listening that the bass booms and is muddy, the mid range is warm, and the treble rather thin and brittle. I like the concept of the FP7F which offers flexibility, and has a stand and built in speakers, but the sound puts me off. As you also comment the range of HP models is expensive
• Kawai – To me the sound seems much closer to an acoustic piano than the Roland. I am drawn to the CA63. However, I read a review of the MP6 stage piano by Tim Praskins who rates it very highly. It seems very reasonably priced for the very good concert grand piano and keyboard action plus all the other super instrumental sounds that you get. The downside is: no built in speakers; no matching stand. In practical terms what would I need to add to get a good sound? There is a superb demo of the MP6 by Ingo Wolfgarten which you have probably seen & heard.
• Yamaha – I have recently come back to the sound of the Yamaha CLP range. I thought it a bit unnatural at first, but on further hearing have found it closer to an acoustic and certainly more even from bass to treble than Roland. I have been wavering over the CLP440 and the CLP470 – is the 470 worth the extra money?
I am basically a classical pianist – or was many years ago. My technique became extremely rusty because I never had time to practice due to my full time job, plus my semi professional viola playing. I am now retired and starting on my piano playing again, but have a long way to go to get back the standard that I once was! I currently own a Kemble Classic II which I bought new in 1990. I am looking to sell this. As well as classical piano, I used to be a church organist in the early 1970s. I love playing hymns and love the pipe organ so my new digital piano must have a good organ sound. Also I am very drawn to exploring jazz piano – if a classically trained person like me can ever really swing! I am looking forward to exploring the range of instrumental sounds that you find on digital pianos, but of course the main priority is that the piano I choose must be as close to an acoustic piano as possible. I know you have an issue with imitation escapement, but which of the 3 makers above is the least offensive in your option. It seems that because I want a high end piano I will have to have it. Would it bother me anyway?
So before trying these out for myself my choice seems to come down to: Yamaha CLP440 or CLP470; Kawai CA63; Roland HP305. Or for a stage piano Kawai MP6; Roland FP7F (in reality these would hardly ever be transported around).
Thankyou for all your information Graham. I sent you an e-mail last week, that one that sounded all mixed up:) I couldn’t decide what to get as I wanted a piano for teaching and also one I liked the sound of. From past experience I knew I preferred the Roland sound to the Yamaha sound. I have a RD300 which is 20 years old. Anyways, the Yamaha has the better touch and heavier weighted keys. After reading your book about 6 times or so I realized what I should have done to begin with was to list all the pianos that were in your 2 lists of the heavy weighted keys as I knew that was one of the most important things. That narrowed it right down as I knew I was just looking at Yamaha and Kawai. I live in Hamilton,Ontario so Classenti isn’t an option, or at least I don’t think so:) Once I narrowed it down to the Yamaha YDP series and the Clavinova, the Roland HP302 and HP7 I found out who had them and went out to play them. Wow, the Roland doesn’t sound like my old RD300, I am not sure what it was. Then after playing the YDP161 which I felt has a very nice touch and plays very nicely I tried playing a couple of Rolands. The Rolands are alot more expensive and the sound wasn’t what I expected. Plus it wasn’t as nice to play, I was surprised. The key noise was louder, but the weight and touch of the keys didn’t feel quite right. The keys on the Roland didn’t seem to respond as well to what I was doing as the Yamaha did. I was very surprised with this as I didn’t notice this with my old RD300. After talking to the salesperson about what I thought about them he agreed and knew exactly what I was talking about. It was nice though that he let me try them out to make my own decision before he gave his opinion. Just to make sure I went to a Yamaha dealer to find out about the Clavinova series. They are a fair bit more expensive than the YDP pianos and the salesperson told me there really wasn’t much difference between the YDP series and the lower end Clavinova, except the warranty was better on the Clavinova. In the end I bought the YDP181. We will be getting it in a few days. I think it will be great for teaching and for my 6yr old and I to enjoy. I was impressed with the sound, and again surprised I liked it better than the Roland plus I saved a lot of money:) The YDP181 will be more difficult that one time a year I have to move it for a recital but the salesman said that I could take it apart without too much trouble for that one time a year, or I may look into renting something.
Anyways, thankyou again for all the information you have put on the web. I recieved the newsletter which had a bunch of questions and answers at the end of it and I stayed up until 3am this morning reading them all to get a better feel of what would be good for my situation.
Well, thankyou again. It made buying a digital piano so much easier. I spent hours rereading your book and reviews to try and figure it out, but I knew exactly what I needed going into the store and what would fit into my budget. I think I may have know a little more than the salesperson. I do not believe he was aware of the differences between the Yamaha and Roland, or maybe he just didn’t want to say. He just agreed with my reasons when I said I preferred the YDP161. I ordered the model up from what I played on for the little bit of a better sound, bigger speakers, a few extra sounds, and easier recording with the USB.
I’ve recently been appointed to Kuwait, have various keyboards to use in the church contexts we visit – various Roland weighted keyboard in one venue + a weighted Yamaha grand feel in another. However at home I have nothing to practice and prepare on – I’m just vamper so to speak. I left my trusted Yamaha PF 80 of many years and Jupiter 6 of maqny years with my family for their use in UK, however my youngest son is now here to be with us for 2 years and he’s started tickling the ivories now.
Have seen the Korg 350 at a reasonable Kuwait price. It has been very helpful to read your advice. I just think the Roland and Yamaha options I have seen in the few shops there are seem a lot more pricey – we Salvation Army officers are not on high salaries. I plan to take your advice, 6 digital piano tests etc back with me to the shop – who to be fair is offering a reasonable discount and check out the Korg LD 350 again. (Not so sure about the SP 250 – look wise or the SP 170).