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Sunday 23 January 2005 10.47am
There was a post about pianos some time back. Though they have two completely unmusical parents the kids seem to be good a music at school and want to learn the piano. Grandparents, delighted to see some potential talent, have made a financial contribution towards buying a second hand piano.

- does anyone have a piano but no space for it. We could give houseroom and a small payment;
- does anyone have a piano for sale;
- could anyone help me choose a suitable piano;
- does anyone know of a local piano teacher/music student.

Fingers are firmly crossed.

Tuesday 25 January 2005 1.11am
Why not go for an electric Yamaha keyboard or suchlike for starters. Amazing what you can do
on the latest models and quite reasonable to buy, don't take up too much space and you can
practise using the headphones without driving the neighbours nuts. I love tickling the ivories myself.
Can't beat a bit of ragtime.
Tuesday 25 January 2005 5.56pm
Check the British Heart Foundation shop on the Old Kent Road for a boan fide electric organ - they sometimes have keyboards too (you can ring and enquire if they have anything in stock)
Sunday 30 January 2005 2.02pm
I was told by a music teacher that it is important for a child to get the feel of a piano, which apparently has a different feel than a keyboard. Though this might be straight prejudice.

As a complete non-musician with plenty of space (because we havn't got round to buying much furniture) I like the idea of a piano because it would look nice. Sad?

Thanks though for your suggestions.

Sunday 30 January 2005 3.43pm
You could try eBay for a piano or Loot? Trouble is with the former you'll soon end up with a house full of stuff that you just didn't realised you 'needed' until you bid on it and oops won it! Then you'll have no room for a piano anyway.

But if you have more resolve than I, it could be a good place to look
Sunday 30 January 2005 8.30pm
As a pianist myself (ooh, that makes me sound a bit grand - I actually just played for a few years when I was younger), I agree that there's a definite difference and would recommend a proper piano, if only for its romantic qualities. Loot and e-bay would both be great places to look and also try the local newspaper. You would probably be able to get a piano suitable for beginners for around £150 - £200, or perhaps even cheaper. I wouldn't spend too much more, if your children get bored you'll just end up with a very expensive and dust-gathering ornament!

When you go to look at pianos, don't worry too much about whether they sound out of tune, that can easily be mended, but do listen out for the tone. Even though you say you're a non-musician, you should still be able to tell whether the piano sounds OK and has a tone that you'll be able to put up with if your kids practice for hours. Avoid anything that sounds too 'twangy', (the piano equivalent of hearing someone sing through their nose).

As for a teacher, why not see if you can put up a wanted advert at one of the local colleges? Southwark College in Keetons Road has an excellent music department and maybe one of the students would be suitable. Or, for someone older. maybe Southbank Uni would be a better place.

Good luck with your search - I hope your kids enjoy it.
Monday 31 January 2005 1.09am
Sorry, I should have spoken up earlier (like when we were chatting in my kitchen). I agree with Annie2004, a proper piano is far superior to a keyboard any day. It is not possible to get any subtleties of tone with a keyboard, nor the proper use of the pedals. A good instrument is the only way. A keyboard may be fine to just practise fingering etc when space is short but there is no substitute for a genuine instrument when it comes to learning.

The thing to look for in a piano (an upright is fine) is tone. You want something mellow, not tinkley (think Granny's front parlour). I learned on & enjoyed a "Challen" which is great for classical & Jazz, Blues & Boogey Woogey. Hope this helps. I'm by no means an expert but I would be happy to help you choose a piano - though I think you're talking not much change from £800 unless you get a real bargain.
Monday 31 January 2005 8.37am
Many thanks.

I am an Ebay virgin, though have looked and been tempted. I understand what Annie means.

In terms of hearing tone, do not underestimate how unmusical I am. Hence the guilt. We almost never play music at home, so I was genuinely surprised to discover my son enjoys the music he learns at school and wanted to learn an instrument.

The advice sounds good, though I also hear that better made pianos stay in tune longer.

One option that was suggested to me by the teacher was to rent a piano. Though again I don't know where to start. Plus I remain attached to the idea of a piano as an attractive piece of furniture.

So Plum, lets go shopping. Unless Phoney/Mapmaker (are they one and the same?) are willing to help me get to grip with EBay which I agree is likely to be the cheapest option.
Monday 31 January 2005 10.48am
e-bay is perfectly fine for small items, but beware of buying a piano that way because the usual rule is that the purchaser pays for delivery, above an beyond the actuall bid/winning price on the auction.

a good example is mahjong sets - they look great, and very authentic, and the bidding starts at £1, but the vast majority (that I've seen on there) are sold and shipped from Shanghai, and you have to add £50+ for shipping - so it's not the bargain you think it's going to be....

but you might get lucky and find someone living locally in london selling a piano, who can deliver locally.
Monday 31 January 2005 11.04am
I'd be happy to help with eBay - I've bought and sold quite a lot recently and I think you can do a search by location too ... sadly never got beyond 'Crunchy Flakes' on the old joanna myself so can't help with that bit!

Also if you do get a real bargain and then have to pay a bit for delivery I guess it m ight even itself out?
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