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I'm a 30-year-old Computer Engineer. I love music but have absolutely no experience with playing any musical instrument. But learning to play one is in my bucket list. I've been advised that Piano is probably the easiest to start with. Recently I've been following some on line piano lessons and music theory videos. I thought it's better to get hands on and am looking forward to buying a digital piano just right for a beginner.

I've zoomed in on two affordable models: Yamaha PSR-E343 and Casio CTK-3200AD, both seemingly base models with touch-sensitive keys, although admittedly I've not much idea how important touch-sensitivity is; nevertheless I thought it's something nice to have.

My intention is to become a little music-literate, make music at the best a hobby if not a throw-away attempt. Considering my experience and intent, it'd be great if I could get some suggestions for a beginner piano (either of the above, or anything price-wise decent that I missed).


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closed as off-topic by Alexander Troup, Shevliaskovic, kurto, American Luke, awe Feb 12 '14 at 12:21

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "Questions seeking recommendations for equipment are off-topic because they tend to become obsolete quickly. Instead, describe your situation and the specific problem you're trying to solve." – Alexander Troup, Shevliaskovic, kurto
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

While equipment recommendations are not on topic on this site, I do believe if you ask "What should I look for in a beginner digital piano?" rather than what model you should buy this question will be ok. I would like to see someone answer this question and help you on the start of your musical journey. – Dom Jan 31 '14 at 18:40
Thanks Dom. I went ahead and ordered the Yamaha anyway! – Jeenu Jan 31 '14 at 21:18
You might want to check out – American Luke Feb 11 '14 at 19:37
I think you did the right thing. The Yamaha has the best action of any of them. Said by someone who owns a Kawai. – BobRodes Mar 6 '14 at 21:58
up vote 3 down vote accepted

In my opinion, the best thing for an absolute beginner is to get something reasonably priced, because you will have stronger preferences later and want to upgrade. That said, there are a few things that are needed:

  • You MUST get a model with touch-sensitive keys. This isn't an option. Non-touch-sensitive keys won't play louder or softer based on how hard you press them; you won't like that very much unless you intend to only play harpsichord.
  • Make sure you get enough keys. I personally wouldn't touch anything with less than 76, even for a beginner, but 61 might be OK. Don't get anything less than 61; using octave controls is very frustrating.
  • It really should also have MIDI or a USB connection, so you can connect it to another synth or a computer. This will give you lots of fun options.

Other things to consider, if you're specifically interested in piano music:

  • Get a pedal. Surprising how many beginners don't. I started without one when I was a pre-teen, and didn't get anywhere until I got one.
  • You need weighted keys to approach an authentic piano feel. This will be more expensive, though, and some don't like them at all. Organ and electronic keyboard are perfectly legitimate instruments as well, so it's a matter of taste. But if you primarily want to play classical piano repertoire with correct technique, you'll want the weighted keys for proper development. (Or better yet a real piano, but that's a whole other conversation.)
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Thanks Brian. I take that pedal comes as an accessory, and presumably most electronic pianos support it? – Jeenu Jan 31 '14 at 20:08
Yes, it's an accessory for a portable keyboard, and most will support it - but always check, as a few inexpensive keyboards don't. – Brian H Jan 31 '14 at 22:35

As for a software engineer, a keyboard without USB MIDI connectivity would be the shame. There are lots of interesting software to work with MIDI, some of it open source.

My keyboard provides automated beats, chord progressions and can assist by bass guitar matching the chord I strike. Also, when I am already tired practising piano, I switch it to organ or best into "angel chorus" mode to keep enjoying he exercise. While professional piano player would probably say there is enough fun without any of these extras, an older beginner with limited time may benefit from the flattened learning curve.

A sustain pedal holds the currently depressed keys sounding, giving much more time for you to place fingers for the next group of sounds (chord). It really makes my life easier, allowing more focus on rhythm instead.

Rhythm and expression with weaker/stronger notes is something I especially like, so probably touch sensitive keys would be a very good idea.

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