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Summary: Herein, the author purchases a digital piano.

My grandparents wanted to help us buy a piano for our little family. Between their contribution and the money we had saved, our budget allowed us to make the single biggest cash purchase of our lives. We did a couple of months of research before settling on a digital piano. Our reasons for getting a digital piano where as follows, in order of decreasing importance:

  1. We can plug in the ear phones and practice during nap time without waking the kids up,
  2. We can get a near-grand-piano sound for the same price as an upright,
  3. I’m still feeling pretty nomadic, and I didn’t want a heavy piece of furniture to move,
  4. There are lots of fun buttons to play with,
  5. If we get really interested, we use the computer to master decent recordings.

Now let me be clear on my lack of credentials. Neither my wife nor I know how to play the piano. She plays the flute, but I’m pretty much a musical moron. Before piano shopping we asked a lot of people about pianos, and tried to do some research, but we were going pretty blind. Still, I think we made a good purchase.

We ended up purchasing a Yamaha Clavinova CVP307 (Dark Rosewood) from The Piano Gallery in Orem, Utah. The Piano Gallery was really good to work with, and gave us a great discount for paying in cash.

After seeing the Clavinova in the store, I found a blog entry where someone talked about how much they loved theirs. After doing some research, and playing the one in the store, we decided to get one. It has mostly lived up to our expectations.

The CVP-307 is a good looking digital piano that serves well as both an instrument and as an attractive piece of furniture. It was easy to assemble, and has a pretty good sound. Though we paid extra for the top of the line model which is supposed to sound as good as the real thing ($1000 more than the near identical CVP-305), as my ear has gotten better I can tell that it’s a digital. Chords loop as they fade, and have an artificial hint. However, it has taken me a couple of hours of playing to notice the differences, and I still have to really look for it. The worst “feature” of the Clavinova line is the crappy DRM on the music formats; I wish they had advertised that upfront.

The most frustrating thing about buying a piano is that the manufactures have worked very hard to prevent comparative pricing. When I called around to get competing quotes, sales people claimed that they had contractual obligations not to give out prices over the phone. After checking our local stores, I ended up finding some Internet prices in foreign currencies that after conversion showed I wasn’t getting an awful deal. I want to make the process a little easier for others. These prices reflect my research in Utah between Salt Lake City and Provo, early 2006. I only bothered saving price quotes for the Yamaha pianos.

  • Yamaha Upright M500F (Light Oak): $5,075
  • Yamaha Upright M425: $3,812
  • Yamaha Upright M500C (Used, priced through a dealer): $3,200
  • Yamaha Upright T116 (Satin): $5,149, bulk buy $3,795
  • Yamaha Clavinova CVP-307: $9,000, $6,095 sale (our cash discount was a little less).
  • Yamaha Clavinova CVP-303: $5,400, $3,995 sale

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