Piano Advice

I've been after a piano since I was about 5 years old, so have decided I finally deserve one!

I've never played and plan to teach myself initially so am just after a student piano at this stage, no more than $5,000, but preferably around the $3,000 mark unless there is a huge difference in quality going to $5,000.

I think I want acoustic as they look nicer and I prefer the sound. Although I'm led to believe some digitals sound just as good now. The only real benefit I see with digital for myself would be the noise factor. I live in an apartment so perhaps using headphones would be an advantage, however I could put an acoustic on an unshared wall and I have no one below me so I don't think noise would be too much of an issue. Although I would still be uncomfortable playing it late at night or too early in the morning.

Can anyone recommend any acoustic student brands, or have any thoughts on why digital might be better? The bottom end brands I've come across are Ritmuller (Allans Music have them for around the $3K price) and Wertheim GE110A (also around the $3K price). Has anyone had any experience with these? Wertheim are an Australian company I believe but they are now made in China and Korea (as probably most cheap ones I suspect).

Another factor, which may not seem important, but it is to me, is it needs to be white. A dark colored wood would not go with my decor at all which is what a lot seem to be unless it's all they advertise. Had a quick look at Yamaha and they are getting a bit high in price and only seem to be dark.

Any advice would be much appreciated.
Keep in mind that with acoustic, you also need to tune them regularly (not a cheap exercise) and they can be a pain when moving.

Mind you I am a synth player so..... take what I say with a grain of salt :D

The key weight/action is another "nothing quite like the real thing" issue. Having said that, once you have played even a baby grand, you'll have that same issue when you sit at an upright :)

With all that in mind, for an apartment, I'd probably go a digital.

$4k will get you into some of the top end of the digital piano gear (or synths for that matter).

If you want some idea of sound modern synths can generate, go to (this is Yamaha's flagship Motif line)


and click on the "Memory of the King" under the "Demo Songs" (to the right of the screen).

I personally like Rolands, so for a Digital Piano, you could get an FP-7 in that price bracket.


At the end of the day, you need to go to a music shop, sit down at it, and play it to see if the key actions etc suit you.

If you are really at the beginner stage and not all that fussed about key action, weights etc, and are looking to "self learn" (at the shock and horror of all "proper" pianists here) I'd start at a half decent lower end synth (under $2k - eg a Roland Juno-D) and go from there..... but that's from an avid synth fan (although I love sitting at a grand for the sheer tactility and ambience).

I think the key issue is, a piano is more likely to force you to learn proper fingering techniques - synths can let you get away with heck of a lot of bad playing (amazing how much technology can cover up for your shortfalls!)

I went from organs to synth - so I'd get RSI if I played a concert grand after 10 minutes :) On the flip side, I'd miss pitch bends and portamentos if I went to a piano....


The Y-man
I'd go digital as well... in fact I did! :D

A few years ago I bought a Roland RD-700SX stage piano. It was their top stage piano, with two grand piano sounds where every key was individually sampled. It has a ton of other settings as well, which I rarely use. Their latest top model seems to be the RD-700GX. They're going for $3,999, including at Billy Hyde Music in Melbourne. Don't know if you could still buy an SX version for cheaper though.

With good headphones, to me the sound is indistinguishable from an acoustic piano, and the key touch is very close too (it's been quite a while since I've played an acoustic piano though, and when I did it wasn't a particularly good one). It's a great instrument and I love it. Now I just need more time to practise again.

Thanks for the responses. I'm going to head down to some stores on the weekend and play them and listen to them being played to see if I can hear the difference. I've been told that the acoustic ones have practice pedals now, so I can play it softly at night so I'll give that a go too. If that is good, then I'll definately go the acoustic. There's nothing quite like a nice classy looking 'real' piano in my opinon. Have definately gone off the German sounding named 'Made in China' ones though and will go with Kawai or Yamaha I think for the little bit extra. Found out I can get those in white on special order for an extra $1,000!!! :eek: I'm not that desperate to make it match!
Yeah, white will be a tough call.

If you're going down the real piano route, maybe you could talk to a piano tuner about what brands he reckons are well made. He might even know of some up for sale. Piano teachers might also know of local pianos up for sale - I bet there are people all the time who get a piano and lose interest after a year or so.

We have just purchased a "real" piano - a lovely looking older one (and yes, I wanted it to match our decor too).:)

We rented it for six months - so we got to know the sound and that it is a lovely piano. When we bought, the six months rental was deducted from the price.

Rental cost us $77 a month, plus a few hundred dollars to deliver and tune the piano when we first got it.

Renting is a great way to get to know if it is the piano you really want to buy. We could have purchased one a little cheaper on eBay, but we preferred to know exactly what we were getting.

Good luck.
If your going for a "real" piano, it may be better looking for a medium quality used one than a cheap new type.
And paying a piano teacher/tuner for his time in testing them out for you.
In the digital types, there's a myriad to choose from.
A high end digital may be better than a low end acoustic, and should cause less hassle.
A friend has just purchased a used Kawai baby grand for 5k black in very good condition that's rather nice, even thought it more a piece of furniture for him.
Just in case someone else decides to use a property investor forum to find a piano... :)

Kawai K3 - beautiful sounding instrument!!! I did my hands on research over the weekend, and this stood out by far (my main comparisions were K2 and Yamaha T121 as well as some cheaper Chinese ones) and definately worth paying the extra for. I'm going to get this, and go with my very expensive choice in color. :D
Just in case someone else decides to use a property investor forum to find a piano... :)
Kawai K3 - beautiful sounding instrument!!! I did my hands on research over the weekend, and this stood out by far (my main comparisions were K2 and Yamaha T121 as well as some cheaper Chinese ones) and definately worth paying the extra for. I'm going to get this, and go with my very expensive choice in color. :D

You choice is expensive because you are dealing with a sales pro who can tell when a prospect want something bad enough.
And while I don't agree with most SS penny pinchers, I'm happy to wait a couple mths and save a few thousand.
The decision came 100% from me, not a salesperson. I did come across one VERY pushy salesperson who was strongly recommending some Chinese one, but pushy sales tactics don't work on me, in fact they have the opposite effect. I found a piano forum and read through many many of those comments from experienced piano players and technicians who knew what they were talking about.

The Kawai K3 isn't the cheapest (and certainly not the most expensive)option, but the sound quality stood out to me over any of the others I tried, which actually surprised me. Seeing as I don't play yet, I thought I'd like the sound of them all but the K3 really stood out in my opinion. It is also one that would see me through my lifetime, especially if I chose to do exams. I felt it was worth investing in a good one from the start, rather than a cheaper one to start with and then have to upgrade later on.

As for second hand, I don't doubt I could get a good deal second hand but it's a bit risky I think. The new one will delay the purchase of my second IP by a few months but what good is having all this property if I can't enjoy my life and fulfull a dream that I've had for over 20 years? :)
One of my brothers told me he was getting a new piano so i went round to see it he had bought a Stienway 9ft Grand Piano the sounds that come out of that thing can bring tears to your eyes. Mind you the price tag would really bring tears to your eyes.
Typical case of emotional buying by someone who has no idea of what they are buying (as you clearly stated).
Of course you deserve anything your bank will lend you money to buy, just as everybody else does.
I reckon you should buy two of them, for these are just the type of situations that capitalist pigs like myself just love.
Those who think they deserve to borrow & buy give us the opportunities we long wait for.
Anybody else out there, You deserve it too!

Viva Capitalism!