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Your Digital Piano Recommendations

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  • Your Digital Piano Recommendations

    I'm in the market for a new digital piano/stage piano. Anyone have some recommendations/warnings? My budget is $600-1200 and I want something that is 1. portable 2. has great piano sounds 3. has a decent variety of additional tones/sounds (mostly organ, strings, violin) 4. Will last a while and provide some room for skill growth and additional "gigs" other than worship leading at my church.

    What do you think?

  • #2
    Talk to Russ, Korg, or Louca...and of course Fred. They are the resident keyboard experts here. They'll be weighing in soon.

    Smitty
    Love ONE woman...MANY guitars!

    www.davidsproblem.wordpress.com

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    • #3
      My band's pianist owns a Yamaha ypg-635 (yamaha portable grand, so yes its portable). It sounds good. It, and the church owned yamaha clavinova keyboard, are the only electronic keys she'll play right now. She even turned down the chance use a $4,000 x8 motif to play her own 635, probably because she wasn't familiar with motif navigation, which is also something to consider, the learning curve and ease of control navigation on stage, but anyway.... the 635 sells for $934 on MF.
      Last edited by musicianinthestates; 07-08-2009, 12:57 PM.

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      • #4
        Hands down for me... the Yammie YPG-635. I have now owned 3 of these type of pianos from Yamaha and I think it is the best bang for your buck.

        Here is the link: http://www.yamaha.com/yamahavgn/CDA/...93&CTID=205200

        Also, what I've done to make mine more portable is to take the screws off the stand and I use velcro on the bottom of the keyboard and the two plates where it rests. Makes set up and tear down a breeze. (Look at the pic attachments for details on this.)

        Hope this helps. Let me know if you have questions.

        Jeff
        Attached Files

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        • #5
          My biased viewpoint is: for piano, no question, the Yamaha S90ES. And pads on that instrument are also very good. In the price range you mention, you will probably have to look for a used one since they are right around the $2000 point new. But now that the S90SX will be coming out, there may be some special deals on the S90ES. Or, you might want to check into an S90, the predecssor to the 'ES, which will be similar but much lower in cost. I will have to say, that unit is not light. I hauled it into and out of church every week for almost 3 years, so it can be done, but it is not light. You will likely find keyboards that are worth playing might tend to be a little hefty. Go for something with weighted, hammer-action keys. The S90ES does NOT have what I consider a good organ patch (nor does almost any other all-in-one synthesizer, see comment below).

          As far as my heavily opinionated view on organs go, I favor using either a separate organ keyboard OR using MIDI into an organ module (e.g. VK-8M). If you want the Hammond B-3 sound, and don't mind having a separate keyboard for it, I would recommend looking into the following boards (called clones): Nord C1, Hammond XK-3C or Korg CX-3 probably in that order. In my avatar, I am playing a Korg CX-3. Actually, 95% of the real Hammond sound comes from the rotating speaker, a.k.a. the Leslie. You can get by using a simulated Leslie sound in some of the clones (the Nord and Korg have excellent Leslie sims) and might not need an actual Leslie. I got by that way for almost 3 years. A real Hammond B-3 with a real Leslie will run you about $5K to $7K; a used or new clone will cost between $1K to $3K; a used Leslie to go with the clone will cost at least $1K and more like $2K by the time you have everything to make it work. So you have to ask if it is worth it to pay that much for "that Hammond sound". My answer to that is obvious ...

          YES

          Lou
          (thanks for the plug Smitty!)

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          • #6
            Agreed with Louca....all 3 players I travel with use the S90es. It does sound amazing...the touch is really nice and even as a discerning engineer i would not argue much on most things if someone brought it in the studio. I'd take it over Ivory sound-wise.

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            • #7
              I will come at this from a slightly different angle. If you stick with the "big three" (Korg, Yamaha, Roland) in your price range, you are going to get all the sounds you need and more. They will be in there *somewhere*. If you are going to be leading with this (or even just playing it) in a worship context, you will need a keyboard that has an interface with which you are comfortable moving around fast. I would go to the Sam Ash/Guitar Center/whatever that is near you and play the boards in your price range. Play with the interfaces and find the one that is most intuitive to you. You will thank yourself when you are in the middle of a set and need to change a sound, tweak it, and adjust the volume, all in the 1.5 seconds between songs. A keyboard that makes sense to you in the clutch will be a much stronger ally than any particular patch on a particular keyboard.

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              • #8
                Great Idea

                Kilroy - I think I will do just that. I have never been to a Guitar Center and I really would like to actually hear a keyboard before I buy it. I found one about 1 1/2 away in Greensboro, N.C. that I think i'll travel to this weekend. Hopefully, I'll come home with just what I need.

                Thanks everyone for your help!!

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