Buying an Instrument

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 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.

Claudio Array performing piano

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.

We feel that it is better to spend the money on a good piano rather than spend thousands for a keyboard.  


Buying A Keyboard

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.  Stick with well known brands. Yamaha keyboards generally have the best piano sounds and action.

MIDI allows you to use your keyboard to interface with your computer.  You want full MIDI (musical instrument digital interface) functionality. 

Be sure that the keyboard has a sustain pedal (may be an add-on).You will need a piano bench and a music rack (for reading music).Notice the way the keys feel and the sound. If it doesn’t sound good, don’t buy it.

Polyphony is a term for how many notes can be played at the same time. Higher numbers are better.

Yamaha stage piano

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.

Buy a weighted keyboard if you can afford it, and make sure it has 88 keys.  These are the three types of Yamaha keyboard actions (the keyboard feel and response).

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

Old arty dirty piano

is the online musical instrument store we like best.

Keyboards with good reviews

Yamaha P series pianos ($500-1500)

Yamaha DGX-keyboards (about $800)