Joined: 23 Sep 2009 Posts: 490 Location: The Not So Grim/ Sunny South(ampton)
Posted: Wed Jan 09, 2013 10:55 pm Post subject:
I'd always recommend 88 keys, and a weighted / semi weighted keyboard if you can afford it. Otherwise the feel is completely different and it's actually quite difficult to adapt after playing a real piano. Not sure if they still do it but there was an M Audio Pro Keys 88 keyboard which was pretty decent and not too spendy.
I just did some googling and reading on piano forums. Basically people were saying purely for learning piano an electronic piano such as the Yamaha P-35 would be a better way to learn as you won't have to worry about working with a computer and dealing with parameters such as velocity adjustment. Also if I want I can use a midi/usb cable to use the piano as a midi keyboard for other synth sounds (I'd probably get something like the Korg nanokontrol to make up for lack of faders though).
Joined: 01 Feb 2011 Posts: 2072 Location: San Diego, California
Posted: Fri Jan 11, 2013 10:38 pm Post subject:
If you want it for piano, get one with 88 fully weighted keys and a built-in speaker because everything else sucks, and even a digital piano sucks compared to a real one, and as shitty as most on-board speakers are, trying to find an amp to plug into is not that great either and then you deal with sound coming out at your feet, blah blah blah, so get a cheap Yamaha digital piano or something. Most of them aren't that great, so just buy something that works. I'm not trying to be negative, it's just the truth. Trying to compare between an entry level Casio vs. an entry level Yamaha and talking about which has a better action is kinda pointless when even a $2000 Roland FP7 has terrible action compared to the cheapest upright pianos, so just find the best deal you can. Try to get the most polyphony possible, 64 is all right but more is better.
If you just want it as a keyboard, then 61 keys are a lot more practical. Also, keep in mind that non-weighted and semi-weighted actions generally are far more playable. I love a weighted action but on a sub-$2000 keyboard, I'll take a semi-weighted (especially on Korgs) or non-weighted over fully weighted any day. As far as digital pianos go, anything under $1000 is really scraping at the bottom of the heap. However, some of the semi and non weighted actions are very professional level already at under $1000. I can play a lot better on my semi-weighted Korg M50 than on a cheap digital piano... weight is important but quality of action is more important and until you get to several thousand dollars and V-Pianos, I just feel that digital pianos have seriously poor weighted action.
That said, 73 keys are a nice compromise. Mozart probably didn't have more than 61 keys in his pianos, and he certainly doesn't use more. Pianos didn't even become standardized to 88 keys until midway through the 19th century, and Beethoven and Bach and Mozart were dead by then. More keys are nice but the last few keys are pretty much ignored on any piano. 61 keys are actually excellent in many ways because it gives you two octaves per hand plus another octave to share. The nice thing about 73 is that it gives you a bit of room to expand. 88 is kind of like having a penis extension, really. I've played classical piano 20+ years of my life, I'd estimate that I can play 90% of piano literature I've learned on a 73 key keyboard, and really, in most of the 10%, it's like one note in a Liszt étude that might not fit, I can still play the rest of it. It's really not until I get to Impressionists that I'd actually struggle without a full range piano. If you're like most piano lovers, you'll want to play Mozart, Scarlatti, and Chopin. You do not need more than 73 keys for that. But if you want to be able to do Rachmaninov some day, do get the 88 keys, although that will be YEARS from now (be patient) and you'll have many opportunities to upgrade by then.
Lastly, get a sustain pedal and learn how to use it properly, and on that subject, don't get an X-stand. Get a good bench that is height adjustable. Don't cut corners on this stuff. Posture is everything. Without it, you risk injury. _________________ Kicking and squealing Gucci little piggy.
Thanks for the help, a lot of good points to consider now. Luckily I'll have access to some lovely grand, baby grand and uprights when I start at the conservatoire so really this will just be for practice before I go and in my room at uni.
Polyphony is something I hadn't thought much about, a lot of the budget end keyboards and pianos only have 32 note so I'll try to find the one with the greatest number.
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