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Buying an Instrument

Buying a piano

For piano students, the best instrument to have is a real acoustic piano.   Buy a quality instrument.  The price you pay depends on the quality.   Some pianos look beautiful, but may be of a lower quality.   Hire a piano tuner/technician to evaluate any used instrument before you buy.   We recommend that our students contact our piano tuner, Steve Huie.

Buying a used instrument can save you hundreds or thousands.
  • Black goes with any furniture style, and is easier to sell for that reason.
  • If you are a beginner, just starting out - buy a keyboard.   You can buy a piano later if you like lessons and want to continue.
  • Stick with well known brands such as  Bechstein, Bluthner, Bosendorfer, Mason and Hamlin, Schimmel, Steinway and Yamaha
  • Don't buy the cheapest models (they use lesser quality parts and craftmanship).
  • Try out any piano before you buy it - two identical models will look and sound different.   All pianos are unique.
Buying a keyboard / electric piano

This is the least expensive option overall.  There are basically two groups.  The first group would be an inexpensive ($150 - $300) keyboard with less than the 88 keys on a piano.  Don't buy one with less than 61 keys. There are so many models to choose from, and they keep making more.   We have found that a beginner's keyboard (Yamaha has the best piano sounds) from Costco is fine for new students who are just trying piano lessons for the first time.  

The next step up is a piano keyboard with 88 weighted keys.   Weighted keys feel like a real piano, with resistance when pressed.   Cheaper keyboards don't have this, and the keys are springy, with no resistance.   It is best to have weighted keys if you don't have a real piano.  Weighted keyboards start around $500 or so.  We feel that it is better to spend the money on a good piano rather than spend thousands for a keyboard.
GST - graded soft touch - keys lighter than real piano - DON'T BUY this as it is inadequate.
GHS - graded hammer standard - various hammer sizes (metal weights) for gradation effect - GOOD BUY
GHE - graded hammer effect - upgrade from GHS with less action noise - more sensitivity to play faster and more advanced pieces - BEST ACTION
      • Stick with well known brands.   Yamaha keyboards have the best piano sounds and action.
      • Be certain that the keyboard has full MIDI functionality.   MIDI allows you to use your keyboard to interface with your computer.
      • Be sure that the keyboard has a sustain pedal (may be an add-on).
      • You will need a piano bench and possibly a music rack add-on (to place music books for reading notes).
      • Play the keyboard and notice the feel of the action (the way the keys feel) and the sound.   You should love the sound before you buy.
      • Polyphony is a term for how many notes can be played at the same time.   Higher numbers are better.

      Keyboards with good reviews