Thinking of learning piano/keyboard

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I've been think about this for a while and I've pretty much decided I'd like to learn to play the piano.  I'd have to have a keyboard due to space and cost but other than that I'm not sure what to look for. A bit of reading leads me to think that there's little point in not getting one with 88 keys and I also gather that there are different types of weighted keys just not sure of the differences or how important it is. 

The Yamaha P45 seems to come up a lot as a decent starter keyboard. Anyone know if there's anything else worth looking at?

Also not sure how much of an undertaking it will be to be half decent.  I'm assuming having some basis of musical knowledge will accelerate the beginning stages so I'm thinking that my main struggles will be technique and coordination but there might be something I'm missing or I might be over simplifying things.
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  • If it is specifically Piano that you wish to play then, yes, eighty eight hammer action keys will be necessary for both the pitch range and proper control over dynamics.

    RedRabbit said:
    not sure how much of an undertaking it will be to be half decent.
    Half a lifetime. ;)

    RedRabbit said:
    I'm thinking that my main struggles will be technique and coordination but there might be something I'm missing or I might be over simplifying things.
    Independence between the two hands is fundamental. I have never mastered it. (Lack of application!) Consequently, my keyboard playing is restricted to lead/bass monosynths or organ/pad chords. One-handed stuff. The second hand tweaks the synthesizer controls in real time.

    Be seeing you.
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  • FuengiFuengi Frets: 1038
    We have a nice keyboard / synth sitting in my sons room, he plays it a lot but I hardly ever get in there. 

    It cost £25 used and has every instrument known to man on it. 

    Really useful and fun thing to have knocking around though. 
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  • goldtopgoldtop Frets: 1183
    To quote myself from this thread: http://www.thefretboard.co.uk/discussion/141218/

    goldtop said:
    Ask yourself why you want to be able to play the piano:
    1. to play classical/jazz standards without error and well enough to be convincing
    2. to playalonga pop music
    3. to write music of your own
    4. to do sound design on synths
    Only #1 absolutely requires formal tuition and significant practice. Getting your pinky to play as loud a note as your index finger and properly independent R and L hands is bl**dy hard work.

    If you've got a reasonably good ear (e.g. for working stuff out on guitar without tab), #2 is not that hard. Plenty of YT tutorials for many classic songs. And it's very rewarding to play them, even if trickier keys tie your fingers up in knots (hint: use Transpose - it's 'cheating' but the equivalent of moving a pattern up or down a few frets to change key).

    For #3, anyone can get results (many pop and rock writers did it before you) and you can fix anything in a DAW. A very large number of synth/EP/etc players fall into this category. A large amount of pop music is written by people with these skills.

    For #4, it doesn't matter.

    Octatonic is right, but there's a LOT of piano/synth fun to be had without formal training, and I'd hate people to be put off. It's like not bothering to go jogging because you'll never run a 2-hour marathon.IMHO. YMMV.

    The Yamaha pianos are well-liked. The Casio PX5S is a more flexible choice, and lots of people love them.

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  • I've been thinking of getting g a keyboard after being able to 'make some nice sounds' on a baby grand piano in a local store. And I hear that modern day electronic keyboards can give a fairly authentic piano sound.
    But I kinda know that after about 3 months it will be collecting dust..just like the guitar, mandolin, uke, harmonica, squeezebox, trombone (donated to me....not bought) bass guitar, banjolele and tuba.
    Not all disabilities are visible.
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  • axisusaxisus Frets: 13111
    I bought a 2nd hand clavinova a year ago and me + older daughter are very happy with it - lovely action. The downside is old ones can end up with sticky keys. I have replaced about 8 so far! The upshot is that I can swap them out pretty quickly now. 

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  • StanleyAccringtonStanleyAccrington Frets: 228
    edited December 2018
    axisus said:
    I bought a 2nd hand clavinova a year ago and me + older daughter are very happy with it - lovely action. The downside is old ones can end up with sticky keys. I have replaced about 8 so far! The upshot is that I can swap them out pretty quickly now. 

    I'm interested to know how your playing technique has improved since purchase. And what style of playing.  Like.....am I too old to learn to play keys to an average to decent level as I'm hurtling to my seventies!?
    Not all disabilities are visible.
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  • axisusaxisus Frets: 13111
    axisus said:
    I bought a 2nd hand clavinova a year ago and me + older daughter are very happy with it - lovely action. The downside is old ones can end up with sticky keys. I have replaced about 8 so far! The upshot is that I can swap them out pretty quickly now. 

    I'm interested to know how your playing technique has improved since purchase. And what style of playing.  Like.....am I too old to learn to play keys to an average to decent level as I'm hurtling to my seventies!?
    Well, me and the old piano have some history. I got to grade 2 as a teen before giving up lessons. I improved a LOT ofter that by playing stuff I actually wanted to learn - Beatles etc. The last couple of decades I didn't play much at all, preferring electric, acoustic & bass guitars and for a few years Chapman stick. Anyway, cutting the boring detail I rediscovered my joy of keys a couple of years ago when my older daughter started teaching herself and got on amazingly well - it inspired me to get back into it.

    I will say a couple of things:

    1) aptitude helps - oldest daughter had some good latent ability, younger daughter wants to play but doesn't have the same natural ability
    2) practice helps - oldest daughter plays a lot, younger daughter way less motivated

    For me, in my old age I struggle to memorise anything at all, but I have developed a different way of playing that is great fun. I basically learned chord shapes and I can put up pretty much any set of chords and bash out a good backing for a song and sing along with the melody (except no-one ever wants to hear a voice like mine!). The interesting thing about this is that, in my youth I struggled with sharps and flats, but now I can sail through any key signature with ease. This method is definitely Piano lite, but I'm quite amazed at how well it works for me and it is a joy to do

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  • octatonicoctatonic Frets: 21413
    We have a Yamaha Clavinova upright and it is stonkingly good.


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  • axisus said:

    Well, me and the old piano have some history. I got to grade 2 as a teen before giving up lessons. I improved a LOT ofter that by playing stuff I actually wanted to learn - Beatles etc. The last couple of decades I didn't play much at all, preferring electric, acoustic & bass guitars and for a few years Chapman stick. Anyway, cutting the boring detail I rediscovered my joy of keys a couple of years ago when my older daughter started teaching herself and got on amazingly well - it inspired me to get back into it.

    I will say a couple of things:

    1) aptitude helps - oldest daughter had some good latent ability, younger daughter wants to play but doesn't have the same natural ability
    2) practice helps - oldest daughter plays a lot, younger daughter way less motivated

    For me, in my old age I struggle to memorise anything at all, but I have developed a different way of playing that is great fun. I basically learned chord shapes and I can put up pretty much any set of chords and bash out a good backing for a song and sing along with the melody (except no-one ever wants to hear a voice like mine!). The interesting thing about this is that, in my youth I struggled with sharps and flats, but now I can sail through any key signature with ease. This method is definitely Piano lite, but I'm quite amazed at how well it works for me and it is a joy to do

    An interesting little resume of your piano playing  journey and how you've incorporated guitars into the mix axisus. I may be a little too long in the tooth to start learning piano/keyboard.......but everytime I hear the dulcet tones of John Shuttleworth on his ?Yamaha keyboard I fancy having a go.
    Not all disabilities are visible.
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  • Weirdly as a piano player originally, I don't find that the weighted keys thing makes that much difference to me to be honest, in that it still sounds nice without it. I've a real piano in my living room which obviously sounds better, but my Yamaha mx49 keyboard upstairs has yielded some great results but then that could be that I've got the technique down pat (I had lessons for 12 years and did the diploma) so I can compensate maybe. 

    I find it's a much more rewarding instrument though, on all levels. Whether I'm playing classical or Bowie it's instantly fun whereas with guitar by the time I've got the instrument out, reached for the plugs, weird everything up, adjuated the tone knob a million tonne whilst playing an A chord... It's a bit of a mood killer.

    Get an idea in your head what you want to get to, fairly specific if possible, and then work a bit at a time towards that. 

    One thing that bugs me when I see clear beginners play the ones they leave in train stations and doingsho centres is the complete disregard for accent add dynamics with the touch. If you learn, concentrate on that and you'll be like night and day with the average learner. Eg, Beat 1 loudest, best 3 slightly less, beats 2 and 4 quieter.

    And don't learn Sam bloody Smith or Titanic for the love of God
    I may feel slightly sad, but I won't cry
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  • paulmapp8306paulmapp8306 Frets: 570
    edited December 2018
    I started learning in Feb at 50 years of age, and am more than happy do far.  Did keys duty at the Leicester jam, and recorded some with a friend.

    It's really hot my music flowing again, but it's cost me.  8i note weights board, then a 76 note semi for organs,  and today a proper synth module.  £4k in a year,  and I don't regret  a penny.
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  • RockerRocker Frets: 3194
    I have a Yamaha but not as good as the P45.  It has less than the 88 key standard but for the type of music I play (chords and similar to what I play on guitar) it is good enough.

    A few things to keep in mind:

    1. Get a good keyboard stand.  Thomann have lots in stock.

    2. An adjustable seat is an absolute Godsend.  Lots of online vendors.

    3. Get a keyboard cover.  Keyboards attract dust.  Again Thomann is a good place to look.
    Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. [Albert Einstein]

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  • axisusaxisus Frets: 13111
    If I want to play 'piano pieces' I really need 88 keys that are weighted.

    General keyboard playing like in a band and I'm not bothered with either of those things, in fact I'd prefer something that has no resistance probably.
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