Learning the Piano..

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  • TwistidChimp 20 Aug 2007 00:08:17 8,825 posts
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    So, I want to start to learn the piano. Obviously i'm thinking I really wish I'd started when I was young, but there you go, nothing I can do about that now, so what i'm looking for is not howls of derision and finger pointing ;) But some recommendations, hopefully from people in the know, pointing me in the direction of a half decent, and reasonably priced digital piano, a Clavinova or something perhpas ? I'm obviously a total beginner so an electronic one should be fine, so long as its got realistic key action and a decent sound... as it were.

    Not sure if its a matter of going to a showroom and actually listening to the qualities of the different instruments, If it were a real piano, obviously I would, but since its just a beginner instrument and it will most likely have quite a few piano voices, I suspect thats not so much of an issue.

    Anywho, cheers peeps, fire away.
  • Deleted user 20 August 2007 00:13:59
    Get a Roland
  • TwistidChimp 20 Aug 2007 00:28:39 8,825 posts
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    Good are they ? Was hoping for a bit more detail ;)
  • Deleted user 20 August 2007 00:30:49
    Nah you want a Yamaha.
  • TwistidChimp 20 Aug 2007 10:26:09 8,825 posts
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    Well.. that was succesful :)

    Bumped for the day people.
  • Pirotic Moderator 20 Aug 2007 10:33:34 20,642 posts
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    Don't see the question to be honest, if your new and wanting to learn just pick up a decent 120 keyboard, so long as it's full size you can move to a full on piano later on if you enjoy it.

    I learnt the piano a few years ago, but the problem (for me anyway) seems to be that if I stop playing for a few months, I forget pretty much everything and have to re-learn it :( so make sure you have plenty of time else your going to be doomed to re-learning like I am :)
  • Deleted user 20 August 2007 10:36:04
    Yep, buy something cheap til you find out whether you actually want to do it.

    It involves a load of frustration and takes a long time to learn the piano.
  • [maven] 20 Aug 2007 10:36:24 5,770 posts
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    Really make to sure to try out the keys. And make sure you play music you like.

    /was able at some point in time to play the epic 11min version of "I'd do anything for love"... :p
  • Deleted user 20 August 2007 10:37:14
    As I said, get a Roland. You can pick up a Roland HP101e now for around 599-699. They're a fanastic piece of kit and sound and feel far more natural than any Clavinova at that price.

    But, that is a large commitment, but if you're serious about learning the piano, they you should get one that feels like a piano, simple as. The large price you pay should incentivise you to keep playing too.

    I was lucky however, started playing at an early age and got my Grade 8 when I was 16 in Sixth Form. Now I'm 26 and I still play for fun, far better now than I was then even. The most enjoyable part of playing the piano is becoming good enough to just jam the hell out whenever you want. But you'll need to play for a few year before being able to do that, so patience is much needed.

    EDIT: Probably the best idea is to find a local private tutor you can visit for lessons. Preferably female and old as they'll kick you in to shape you can guarantee. But make sure you get your piano before going to weekly lessons as you'll have LOTS of practise to do. And do the practise, or you're wasting her time and your money with the lessons.
  • Deleted user 20 August 2007 10:37:32
    Just don't try to learn to play it by ear. I know a guy on here who wanted to learn to play the guitar by ear and he couldn't even get the plectrum to stay on his lobe.


    /ba-dum-tsh's himself

    /will be here all week folks
  • TwistidChimp 20 Aug 2007 10:39:58 8,825 posts
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    Ah.. much more like it, ta folks :) Yeah, I've had lessons before and definatley want to take it up seriously. I wont just be learning by ear so dont worry about that. (edit - have now read your entire post.. thanks for that ;) I'll take a look at the Rolands.
  • Ciaran 20 Aug 2007 10:46:35 1,070 posts
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    Roland FP7!

    Will nip your wallet a bit (about 1,250 I think) but it's a great beginner/intermediate piano. 88 weighted keys and 128 polyphonic, so you're all set for a couple of years.
  • TwistidChimp 20 Aug 2007 10:53:59 8,825 posts
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    Ciaran wrote:
    Roland FP7!

    Will nip your wallet a bit (about 1,250 I think) but it's a great beginner/intermediate piano. 88 weighted keys and 128 polyphonic, so you're all set for a couple of years.


    Thats a bit too much for me to spend at the moment i'm afraid. Was hoping more for about 600 - 800. Wish I had the cash to spend on something better, but to be honest, as a total beginner I dont think its worth me going nuts cost wise, so long as its got weighted keys and has a pleasant enough sound, thats all good.
  • Kami 20 Aug 2007 10:57:09 2,711 posts
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    To start with, go for a weighted keyboard (edit; not weightedkeys, that would set you back a bit more) or a digital piano board. Yamaha do some good ones, but look around and you might find a reasonably decent cheap-ass one to start with for 200-500ish. You can often find adult classes these days (evening ones usually) which teach musical basics - guitar and piano, usually, and you pay for the course and not per lesson, so might be worth trying that out as well - check if they supply machines of their own, check them out, give it a whirl and if you don't take to it - no big loss. Be warned that the piano will take a long time to get to grips with, even season classes will only get you so far but it should be enough of a taster to make you decide if it's something you want to continue with.

    If you do take and when you want to take it more seriously, you might want something a little more... serious. This is where playing a piano can be pretty devestating - you can either buy a proper piano which, let's face it, is (a) very expensive - a good upright costs up to 5000 and a grand, well, today a good new grand will set you aside coming on 50k at least and (b) is going to take up a lot of space - or you can buy good digital versions for a grand or two. It's not really the same, you can't simulate a proper piano completely, but for a lot of people it's a good compromise. You can also get great keyboards for a few hundred if you really can't afford it, just make sure it's weighted to get a better, more "authentic" feeling. Aside from this, you'll also want to look at private, more tailored lessons, and this can also be pricey.

    Pretty much overall, the piano is a very expensive instrument to learn to play, but to be honest I love the sound of a good piano - there's nothing quite like it. I learned on grands at school - there were four grands in my school and I used to muck about on them a lot before the music teachers just decided to teach me how to play a bit so it didn't sound like some retard hitting any old key and hoping it sounded good. I'm not proficient by any means, I never really got into the lessons or anything like that - but from time to time, I end up somewhere with a really nice piano and I sit down and have a go.

    You just have to decide in the end if it's worth the expense that learning the piano may entail. But go back to the start - check for evening classes, see if they supply the technical stuff, if they do stick with it for a few months and if you like it - cross the next few bridges as you come to them.

    Good luck!
  • Phattso 20 Aug 2007 10:58:22 27,081 posts
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    Just a general point, but you're not going to get a fully weighted hammer-action keyboard "reasonably priced" I'm afraid. ;)
  • MrWorf 20 Aug 2007 11:01:13 64,128 posts
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    Getting weighted keys is very very important mate. Not only for knowing how to properly strike the keys but to train your fingers so they don't go limp after 2 minutes of playing the piano. :/

    I got stuck like that once. I was practising for 2 months for a 5 hour concert the London Wigmore hall on an old Yamaha keyboard, when I arrived the day before for rehearsal I could barely play for 5minutes without my finger seizing up. I had to practise all day to get my stamina up again.

    Glad to see your learning, it's a brilliant instrument.
  • TwistidChimp 20 Aug 2007 11:02:35 8,825 posts
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    Would something like this Roland be a good idea? I've already had lessons so I'm under no illusions as to the difficulty of learning to play, I definatley want to get something slightly better than just a keyboard.

    Something like this, or an entry level clavinova seems like the best way to go I think ?

    It says graded weighted keys, so ?
  • Kami 20 Aug 2007 11:05:59 2,711 posts
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    Well, entirely up to the make and quality Phattso. I just mentioned it because I remember it being quite important, but I will admit a lot of the digital keyboards these days I have little idea about. I know how much a grad is because some people near me wanted one for their place - neither of them play, nor does their daughter, but they wanted it as a focal piece, so on that side I'm pretty clued up. I think I made the point though that this is a very expensive and tme-consuming hobby well enough though. ^^

    Which is why I repeat again - check around for these bulk evening classes, or some cheap lessons, and give it a shot for a while before investing a lot of time and money into something you may not stick with for the long haul.

    It's a fabulous piece of machinery, a piano, and makes a sublime sound. But to make it sing... that's going to show how much you want this. (edit note; buh. Posted after >.>)

    That digital does look very pretty, not a bad price and pretty good offer on it. It's a place to start I suppose, and I know there are keyboards on the market that cost more than that.
  • TwistidChimp 20 Aug 2007 11:11:01 8,825 posts
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    I think a digital like that is probably the best bet. I started learning on a Clavinova and that was fine.. My first teacher wouldn't let me near the Steinway Grand she'd just inherited.... Suprisingly :)
  • Kami 20 Aug 2007 11:20:40 2,711 posts
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    Heh Twistid, as I said - good modern grands are pricey, classical/older grands can often be worth a lot, lot more so no. I'm not surprised that your teacher wouldn't let you near the grand.

    You are right though that digital pianos are very much a great compromise these days - they can be relatively compact, should need little servicing and deliver a fairly solid experience. I only have a keyboard myself that a few years ago cost about 500, but I haven't used it for ages and today it's probably not worth even a fifth of that price. Such is depreciation, and such is my interest in playing.

    I think for me, it's the sound it makes that enthralls me more than playing a piano. I've heard some piano covers on the net of Castlevania tunes and I get tingles across the back of my neck. I get shivers when I see the likes of Myleene Klass play (who wouldn't?). It's a beautiful sound, but whilst I can play - I'm certainly no expert, so I do wish you the best of luck in it. Make those suckers sing!
  • Phattso 20 Aug 2007 11:21:04 27,081 posts
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    Kami wrote:
    Well, entirely up to the make and quality Phattso. I just mentioned it because I remember it being quite important, but I will admit a lot of the digital keyboards these days I have little idea about.

    Heh - I'd penned that reply before the thread had any posts, it wasn't specifically aimed at you. Really busy here today, so forgot to hit 'submit reply'. ;-)


    I'm a synth man myself - nothing beats the sound and feel of an actual Piano, but being in a band and running the synths I often have to play things in a way a piano just wouldn't support, so all my stuff is semi-weighted hammer action with aftertouch and velocity sensing.

    I'm a Korg man personally - always loved their pianos, and they support fully weighted keys as an option across their entire range. You might be well served scouring the second hand market, TwistidChimp - there are bargains to be had out there.
  • MrWorf 20 Aug 2007 11:22:33 64,128 posts
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    Korg! :o

    = Korg. ;_;

    I wish I could afford one. :/
  • Deleted user 20 August 2007 11:33:50
    ecosse_011172 wrote:
    Great thread, I've been dying to learn the piano for years, maybe soon I'll get off my arse and do it soon...

    I would wait until you've finished your GCSEs. I want you to really well so you can get a job and buy a 360 + Bioshock.



    @ TwistidChimp: Yes, that Roland 201 is good, same as mine, nicely weighted keys too. The 101 is the model down, but if you fancy paying the 895 for that, then go for it. As someone else said above. It's important you get a piano that sounds as authentic as possible as it'll add to the whole experience IMO.
  • jonsaan 20 Aug 2007 11:33:53 27,052 posts
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    I would suggest scouring the local papers for a bargain upright that nobody wants anymore. They are out there. The Last two pianos I got were free, they just wanted the things out of their houses.
    NOTHING can compare to the feel and sound of a real piano unless you are going to spend a fairly serious amount of money.
  • MrWorf 20 Aug 2007 11:35:34 64,128 posts
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    If you do that chances are it won't be tuned properly or completely out of tune. :/

    And last I checked tuning costs a small fortune.
  • Deleted user 20 August 2007 11:37:00
    ecosse_011172 wrote:
    woodnotes wrote:
    ecosse_011172 wrote:
    Great thread, I've been dying to learn the piano for years, maybe soon I'll get off my arse and do it soon...

    I would wait until you've finished your GCSEs. I want you to really well so you can get a job and buy a 360 + Bioshock.
    What's a GCSE?
    I like Bioshock, as well as being an amazing game, it has all the shininess that I'm missing in garish ecosseland.

    Sorry, I should have said SATs. Ecosseland sounds beautiful though. You should open it as a pay-on-entry themepark. It may be as successful as Blobbyland.
  • jonsaan 20 Aug 2007 11:37:43 27,052 posts
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    Razz wrote:
    If you do that chances are it won't be tuned properly or completely out of tune. :/

    And last I checked tuning costs a small fortune.

    Well there is that. Sorry forgot. I tuned mine myself. With a little help from my Piano refurbing mate:)
  • MrWorf 20 Aug 2007 11:39:31 64,128 posts
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    /dons black veil and mourns death of serious thread
  • Deleted user 20 August 2007 11:41:03
    Razz wrote:
    /dons black veil and mourns death of serious thread

    It was going far too well. Still, I inputted some quality info at the start. twistidchimp should take note.
  • Lovemoose 20 Aug 2007 11:42:12 1,001 posts
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    To be honest, you need to sit in front of one and play for an hour or so. Imagine doing that everyday. If you can't, because the keys or too heavy or too light, or the sound isn't quite right, then it's not the one for you.

    It's too easy to say one brand is better than the other, there are good and bad things about any brand.
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