Author Topic: Keyboard question  (Read 60 times)

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Offline geeeemo

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Keyboard question
« on: November 24, 2021, 01:02:40 PM »
I want to get my son a keyboard for Christmas. I have a 50 year old piano that probably can't be tuned great. My son has taught himself to play the guitar the last 6 years or so and is very good. We bought him an inexpensive guitar to start and then got him a Sterling JP7 because he really has put lots of time and effort into learning.
So, he has been doing the same now with the piano. I would like to get a decent keyboard, but not super expensive. To get him started and then see how it goes. Any recommendations?
Thanks!

Offline Orbert

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Re: Keyboard question
« Reply #1 on: November 24, 2021, 02:43:59 PM »
To be honest, I don't see why the 50-year-old piano can't be what he learns on, or why you don't think it can be tuned.  Pianos are built to last hundreds of years, and many do, and are tuned many times along the way.

But if you'd rather get him a keyboard, the most important decision you have to make is whether or not it has weighted keys.  Weighted keys are the most important thing that makes a keyboard feel like a piano, and is always recommended if the idea is to learn to play the piano.  It also adds significantly to the weight, as you might guess, therefore it is also the most important downside.  A keyboard can be eight pounds of plastic and electronics, but you're not gonna find one with weighted keys that weighs less than 30 or 40 pounds.  So you have to decide first whether he's learning to play the piano, or just learning some keyboard skills.  They're not the same thing.  But no matter what you decide, get something with full-sized keys.  Do not mess around with mini-keyboards.  It will only make the transition to real keyboards that much harder.

You can get a decent sounding keyboard with full-sized keys for $100 or less.  Weighted keys tend to cost a bit more, but IMO are worth it.

Offline geeeemo

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Re: Keyboard question
« Reply #2 on: November 24, 2021, 02:58:13 PM »
To be honest, I don't see why the 50-year-old piano can't be what he learns on, or why you don't think it can be tuned.  Pianos are built to last hundreds of years, and many do, and are tuned many times along the way.

But if you'd rather get him a keyboard, the most important decision you have to make is whether or not it has weighted keys.  Weighted keys are the most important thing that makes a keyboard feel like a piano, and is always recommended if the idea is to learn to play the piano.  It also adds significantly to the weight, as you might guess, therefore it is also the most important downside.  A keyboard can be eight pounds of plastic and electronics, but you're not gonna find one with weighted keys that weighs less than 30 or 40 pounds.  So you have to decide first whether he's learning to play the piano, or just learning some keyboard skills.  They're not the same thing.  But no matter what you decide, get something with full-sized keys.  Do not mess around with mini-keyboards.  It will only make the transition to real keyboards that much harder.

You can get a decent sounding keyboard with full-sized keys for $100 or less.  Weighted keys tend to cost a bit more, but IMO are worth it.

thank you! I had the piano tuned - a while back - if I recall it needed some other work. It can't be that bad, it was new when my parents bought it when I started playing.  I think though, that a keyboard he can take with him when he moves is a good option. And its more versatile. He seems pretty creative and is tinkering with drums too, so more options the better I think. Weighted sounds better to me. As far as keyboards, I have the feeling there are many options etc and that it could be overwhelming. Are some brands better than others? I don't need high end for sure, but not super cheap. Thanks again!

Offline Orbert

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Re: Keyboard question
« Reply #3 on: November 24, 2021, 03:43:31 PM »
I haven't shopped for keyboards in years, so I'm a bit out of touch with the market.  Also, I don't know what your budget is.  But a quick Google search of what's out there shows a number of options.

My old bandmate was in exactly your position, wanting to buy a piano substitute for his son, and was looking at this thing.  I couldn't recommend it.  It only has the one pedal, and they don't even call it a pedal; they call it a "foot switch".  It was clearly designed by people thinking "keyboard" and not "piano".  Guys who have played piano for years can adjust down, but I don't recommend actually learning on something like this.

If you can afford it, the way to go is a Clavinova.  These are designed to be used as pianos in situations where a real piano isn't practical.  My sister (a former concert pianist) has one of these in her condo for that exact reason.  I've played many Clavinovas, but not everyone can spend thousands on a piano or piano substitute.

This guy keeps coming up my searches.  The reviews are good, and you can't beat the price.  Best of all, it has the gestalt of "real piano", not "piano-like keyboard".  Again, I don't know what your budget is, but $500 for a decent digital is a pretty good deal.  But I've never played one.

I have played a Kawai.  Not this exact model, but one of their digital pianos, and I liked it a lot.  I know a lot of people like the "bright" sound of a Yamaha, but I prefer the "warm" sound of a Kawai, and their digital pianos reflect that.  It costs a little more than the Donner, but it's a brand that I know and can recommend.

Offline geeeemo

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Re: Keyboard question
« Reply #4 on: November 24, 2021, 03:47:08 PM »
very helpful :)

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Re: Keyboard question
« Reply #5 on: November 25, 2021, 12:08:16 AM »
A piano that hasn’t been tuned in a long time can definitely be ‘fixed’, you just need to have it tuned a couple of times spread over about a year (depending of course on how badly it is out of tune). Ask your piano tuner, he’ll be able to help. :)
Hey dude slow the fuck down so we can finish together at the same time.  :biggrin:
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Offline Skeever

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Re: Keyboard question
« Reply #6 on: November 25, 2021, 07:50:13 AM »
I think it really depends on what your son is moving toward. That should help you narrow down what you are really looking for - a digital piano, a synthesizer, or something in between.

The point of getting a digital piano with realistic weighted keys is to train properly for the classical techniques that would be required if your son would ever play on a proper grand piano. But these days, very few keyboardists, even professional ones, would ever do that. So the idea of realistic weighting and action kinda flys out the windows in favor of whatever feels best to the player. People interested in playing piano the way it has been for centuries (classical, jazz, pop, etc) would probably still prefer to get something that looks and feels something like a real piano, which you already have.
Yes, you need to maintain an acoustic piano, but keep in mind that digital pianos do not last forever either - they are full of mechanical and electronic components that are nearly impossible to have maintained or replaced, unlike the acoustic piano. Not sure when your son moves - it could be time for him to get a new one by then.

But based on what I know about kids, it may not be traditional piano that he's all that interested in. He may be far more interested in synthesizers, or some kind of digital production gear such as keyboard controllers (keyboards of various sizes and price rangers that use sounds from the computer to record into recording software) to help expand on his guitar music with other instruments and sounds. If that's the case, you may want to look at some other options, like whether your son is more interested in tinkering with sounds or producing music on the computer.