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Piano Lessons - Buying A Keyboard

Gregg Bolinger
GenRocket Founder
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Joined: Jul 11, 2001
Posts: 15299
    
    6

So for as long as I can remember I've wanted to take piano lessons. My parents could never afford a piano of any kind growing up and then life happens and here I am. However, I now have the opportunity to do this. I start tomorrow.

But I need something to practice on at home. I live in an apartment and I don't have the budget for an acoustic piano. I've been researching keyboards. The one I like thus far is the Yamaha-YPG-625.

I'm looking for nice sound and realistic keys. 74 or 88, I'm not sure I care either way. I just want it to feel like I am playing an acoustic piano as much as I can, considering my budget. Assuming $600 is the max I want to spend does anyone have suggestions that are better than the Yamaha?


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Pat Farrell
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Joined: Aug 11, 2007
Posts: 4659
    
    5

Go with fewer keys, since you are on a budget. Go to your local Guitar Center with some earphones and listen.

If you can, take someone who plays to help.

Consider used, so you can use it for a year, and replace it when you decide you want a real piano.

Its not going to sound like a Steinway or Baldwin or other real piano, so don't worry too much.
Doug Slattery
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Joined: Sep 15, 2007
Posts: 294
Hi Gregg,

I've been playing a very *long* time and took lessons for 10 years growing up.

I've played in many bands and have even worked as a tech repairing electronic gear including Yamaha. I haven't played the 625, so can't comment on the action, but looking at the specs/price, it definitely sounds like a reasonable starter board. As far as the action, there is only one board I prefer over Yamaha, which is Kurzweil, but that's past your budget a little.

If you're a techie, I could suggest an alternative that could save you a little more $$$, but it's up to you. It'll take more time to get setup and there's some homework involved.

As Pat says, it won't sound like a Steinway, etc., but no electronic device will for a *long* time.

When you go in to G.C., check out some of the other boards on display too. That'll give you an idea of what's out there.

And if you get teased by something out of your budget, feel free to chime in again.

- Doug
-- Nothing is impossible if I'mPossible
Gregg Bolinger
GenRocket Founder
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Joined: Jul 11, 2001
Posts: 15299
    
    6

Thanks Pat, Doug.

Doug,

If you're a techie, I could suggest an alternative that could save you a little more $$$, but it's up to you. It'll take more time to get setup and there's some homework involved.

I'm definitely a techie so please share.
Doug Slattery
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Joined: Sep 15, 2007
Posts: 294
Hi Gregg,
I'm definitely a techie so please share.

Famous last words -- be careful what you wish for .

To keep this kinda short, I won't go too deep into my reasons.

There is a board I have known as a midi controller. It doesn't have a sound engine, but sends midi data to another device that does. Oh, let me know if I'm going too fast or slow for your experience. I'll gladly adapt.

The midi controller I have is an M-Audio Pro-Keys 88 which I carry on the road with me. It's an 88 note unit, which is a *lot* lighter to tote around than my 88 noter I keep at home. My "sound engine" is a newer, lighter, smaller 61 note version of my grounded 88 note monster.

What I was thinking is the controller is now down to ~ $300, but it's not very user friendly. I know quite a bit about midi and wrote midi software, so it's no big deal to me.

You could hook it up to your pc and with some low cost software (or even freeware), get something started to use your pc as the sound engine (aka DAW or digital audio workstation). There's a spec known as GM (for general midi) that has a standard set of instruments that's incorporated into today's sound cards. Through midi, you can tell the computer which instrument to use (piano in your case). The M-Audio controller transmits the dynamics as you play (i.e. volume, legato, etc.) to mimic a real piano like the Yamaha and most others do. As a techie, you'll soon realize the potential of all this and if you're into it, it'll become a new really cool adventure.

I suggest this because if you start exploring the Yamaha, you'll probably run into the limits of the presets, the sound engine and want more. There's a couple things on the Yamaha I noticed -- I didn't see standard midi ports (only usb -- the pro-gear I use including the M-Audio have standard midi ports). Usb is ok with the computer, but it's not widely adopted with other gear. The other thing was I didn't see pedals as an assumed deliverable. I would expect to see at least one pedal. Those can easily add another $30 to the cost.

You can google for midi freeware. The software is useful for setting up accompaniments and there's tons of free midi files out there to fool with. Music Creator by Cakewalk is a good intro package and the last time I checked even came with a midi adapter that connects to the joystick port (if they still exist). I use Sonar by Cakewalk. There's other more $$$ packages like Cubase, ProTools, but to each his own.

There's a lot more beyond that too, but you need to focus on your 1st lesson

- Doug
-- Nothing is impossible if I'mPossible
Michael Matola
whippersnapper
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Joined: Mar 25, 2001
Posts: 1749
    
    2
Do your local colleges or universities have music departments? Some sell off used equipment (pianos, keyboards) once or twice a year. I'm told that my local one has some great deals, if you know how to evaluate what's for sale. This may not help you find something immediately, but may be something to watch for down the line if you enjoy playing
Pat Farrell
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Joined: Aug 11, 2007
Posts: 4659
    
    5

Originally posted by Michael Matola:
Do your local colleges or universities have music departments? Some sell off used equipment (pianos, keyboards) once or twice a year. I'm told that my local one has some great deals, if you know how to evaluate what's for sale. This may not help you find something immediately, but may be something to watch for down the line if you enjoy playing


I would not go as far as to call them "great deals" The way it works is that the piano distributor leases or rents some good pianos to the local music departments, and then at the end, runs lots of ads and sells them off. Next year, repeat.

They are used pianos. They will be cheaper than new. But its not clear that they are better deals than any other used piano.

I think they are mostly real pianos, not keyboards. The real downside of real pianos is that they are heavy and big. The upside is that they sound like real pianos.
Hussein Baghdadi
clojure forum advocate
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Joined: Nov 08, 2003
Posts: 3479

This is a really nice and good news, congrats Gregg.
What kind of music you want to play? classical, Jazz or something else?
Gregg Bolinger
GenRocket Founder
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Joined: Jul 11, 2001
Posts: 15299
    
    6

This thread is over 2 years old. Closing.
 
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