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What to buy to start from the beginning? (Read 1685 times)

Offline scottymac

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What to buy to start from the beginning?
« on: February 26, 2016, 05:56:08 AM »
Hi everyone

I am just about to start learning to play the piano and was wondering what would be the cheapest option to get going please. I make electronic music and I am about to purchase a keyboard to work with. I can get an electronic plug in that gives the authentic sound of a piano but this would mean I don't have the pedals and the feel of the keys won't be like a proper piano.

Could I start on this for now and get a piano when I am a bit more advanced? Or should I just buy a cheap electronic piano, or just buy a cheap second hand piano? Also what would you say the minimum size keyboard I could progress on just to start to learn playing with two hands?

Thanks for the advice in advance it is greatly appreciated.

Scott


Offline irrational

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Re: What to buy to start from the beginning?
«Reply #1 on: February 26, 2016, 07:46:06 AM »
I would advocate a cheap upright piano.
Keyboards are ok but to get to the touch of a piano an electronic will cost as much a s a cheap grand.

You should be able to get a servicable little upright at low cost that should be fine for quite a long time, but will likely be replaced in a few years.

There are many brands of piano out there. Of the small cheapies I played on I most enjoyed an old but small Wurlitzer. It had a fun character and I enjoyed its touch. I am sure you can find something solid enough under $1000 with a little scouting. IF you know a technician, the added advice will be very helpful.

A keyboard will likely be fine for a year or 2 though if you are absolutely beginning and money is an issue.

Offline huaidongxi

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Re: What to buy to start from the beginning?
«Reply #2 on: February 26, 2016, 09:01:51 AM »
what area do you live in ?  in northern Calif for example there are decent upright pianos going very reasonably due to a couple of factors -- highly transient population, older people moving to smaller residences, families with kids who start with student instruments (like older uprights) and the kids either quit playing, leave, or out grow the instrument and get something better.  found one once in a good will type of thrift store, but the woman we knew who was looking for a student piano for her kid didn't want a cosmetically imperfect piano from a thrift store. you will need to spend time searching them out and looking at them for test-playing.  the best buys are often less than perfect in terms of the furniture finish and many of the shiny new looking ones are often actually cheap feeling and sounding.

Offline scottymac

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Re: What to buy to start from the beginning?
«Reply #3 on: February 26, 2016, 09:19:15 AM »
Thanks for the info guys.

I am in Shildon, England.

Is it an absolute necessity to start on an upright, will I pick up bad habits or have set backs if I started on a keyboard and then transitioned to a piano at a later date, say maybe six months or so? I am going to be moving in a few months so this is a contributing factor too.

I am just starting out from fresh and would like to do the best I can and not pick up any bad habits so I get stumbling blocks at a later date.

Cheers

Offline scottymac

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Re: What to buy to start from the beginning?
«Reply #4 on: February 26, 2016, 09:22:47 AM »

Offline huaidongxi

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Re: What to buy to start from the beginning?
«Reply #5 on: February 26, 2016, 10:06:08 AM »
can't assess anything about an instrument from that kind of photo -- the seller didn't take a picture of what it looked like inside, either -- except that it does not look well cared for.  if you are not confident in your own capability to assess a piano from looking at it carefully (the inside and backside included) and playing every note at varying speeds and dynamics, take a friend who can.  a good instrument at the price of that Kelman might be too good to be true.  the site piano-tuners.org on the UK piano page piano forum has some interesting info on Kelman pianos ; apparently the name was put on pianos that came from a number of different factories.  there are any number of parts that can disintegrate on older uprights, any part of the moving mechanisms that transfer the keyboard strike to the hammer (the felt hammers can also be severely or unevenly worn), the bridle straps, und so weiter.  good luck and have fun, be patient and look at as many instruments as you need to until you're sure you have one you'll be happy with.

Offline scottymac

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Re: What to buy to start from the beginning?
«Reply #6 on: February 26, 2016, 12:24:20 PM »
Thank you very much for all that info my friend. I will do as you advise and keep looking whilst doing some research and also see if I can get someone to look at that purchase with me.

Offline indianajo

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Re: What to buy to start from the beginning?
«Reply #7 on: February 26, 2016, 03:15:06 PM »
Ugly Baldwin Hamilton's are going $40 near me, $150 for a nice looking one.
Even better sounding Baldwin Acrosonics are going $100 for the spinette 36" which sounds great but is a little slow, or $200 for the fast 40" and taller.  
The difference is a little bit of cost savings on the scale of the Hamilton top octave.
Wurlitzers can be okay, I bought a dull sounding spinette for $50 for my summer trailer but if you open the top it lets the highs out.  Cheap thick soundboard I believe. The 44 wurli at a church I play at is boomy and loud, not much noticable ping, which pleased somebody but I prefer an Acrosonic, a Sohmer, or a Steinway with pronounced ping.  
Other great names Sohmer, Grinnell Bros of Detroit, Gulbransen, chickering, Mason & Hamlin, Kohler & Campbell, Everett, of course Steinway but those are not cheap.  Pre WWII Knabe and a hundred other brands, they were built from kits and good ones may not have a recognizeable brand. count the number of dampers to start out, ones missing more than an octave and a fifth high dampers often also don't have the full length scale or premium actions. Short scale is fine if you don't play the top octaves but the overtones are a little off from premium long scale.   44" and taller prewar uprights are usually free, but a ***** to move, they weigh 200 kilos.  The piano mover here won't touch them.  
Real pianos of the brands should hold up another 100 years or 10000 practice hours before felts get worn. Of course don't buy a worn out one. Return straps missing are fine, they can be replaced by shirt material strips. Pedal disconnected is common after moves, if it is lost it is just a dowel rod with two hole drilled in the end.   Acoustic brands I dis-recommend- Whitney, Betsy Ross, look for bent hammers & sticky keys. Short life has been reported of Essex, and a brand formerly made here in clark county I forget.
Watch anything made after 1988?  They globalized the names and the newer Wurli I played at a student house had inconsistent action very soft.  The Kawais I've seen have been okay, the Yamaha consoles have been dull and boring sounding, especially the bass notes.  Kind of like that $50 Wurlitzer I bought. Women love to spend $$$$ on that brand, here I think it has something to do with the "beautiful green eyes" of the sales manager.  The Yamaha grands actually sound good. 
Read through this to inspect an acoustic piano by yourself, without involving a $100 tech visit.  http://www.pianostreet.com/smf/index.php?topic=56680.0
I spit on keyboards, they have rubber keys and won't last IMHO even to ten years or 5000 hours practice. Without a $1000 sound system the speakers sound like ****.   Electronic boards don't have to be tuned, but you can tune a piano yourself. Like a guitar but more strings. Get a $10 tuning fork, a $100 key,  and learn to flat your fifths a little.    for the first 30 years I used a 5/16" x 1/4" socket turned backwards and a long arm 5/16" allen wrench.  You have to hold a socket  straight to not booger the heads, and fish it out with a magnet if you drop it.  

Offline huaidongxi

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Re: What to buy to start from the beginning?
«Reply #8 on: February 26, 2016, 07:09:59 PM »
indianajo, if you looked at my comments on the 'steinways overrated?' thread, we have had similar experiences ; owned an acrosonic when we lived in the midwest.  my impressions of yamahas were nearly identical to yours, without the bit about women liking them.  Scottymac lives in dear old England, one of the birthplaces of the industrial revolution and home to its own plethora of medium and small piano manufacturing companies when most middle class households there had a piano, plus continental makers we rarely see in amerika.