I had initially decided that, based on reviews from UK Pianos, Graham's advice and other reviews it was likely I would go for a Yamaha and with a potential budget up to £1000 maximum, felt I could get a reasonable one. I eventually chose a Kawai. - I work in Leeds every day so went to a music shop local to my workplace (Production Room http://www.production-room.com/categories/358/Digital-Pianos/ ) that advertised they sold Yamahas and specifically the YDP162 that I was interested in. While the lady who attended to me was very helpful, making me a cup of tea, playing the pianos for me so I could hear them from a distance etc., I was disappointed to find out, however, that in their showroom they only had a more expensive model (sorry, can't remember which one) so I tried that. I compared it to a Casio which was the only other comparable model they had in. I wasn't impressed with either. The Yamaha's keys didn't 'feel' right to my touch and the Casio had a 'hollow' sound, but a better key touch. So I left without a purchase.
- I visited a second Leeds store that day in the town centre (Dawsons http://www.dawsons.co.uk/keyboards-pianos/digital-pianos ). The sales person here was helpful at first and they had a YDP162 in that I could try. He also suggested I tried a Kawai which, helpfully, was set up right next to the Yamaha in a bit of a Rick Wakeman keyboard stylie! That meant I could try them both in quick succession to compare the keyboards, sound etc. I used your checklist on them both which was really helpful. I tried the Yamaha first and it actually felt better than the previous more expensive one. Then I tried the Kawai, not expecting much to be fair, and was astounded at how full the sound was, particularly as you went down the keyboard into the bass stave. I spent a good half hour going backwards and forwards between the two trying to find a way that the Yamaha would be better, but I just couldn't. In the end I was decided, at £100 cheaper than the Yamaha, the Kawai was a clear winner. This is where things then got a bit disappointing. I asked the sales person who by now was starting to look and sound a bit frazzled (though the shop wasn't that busy) what came with the piano. He said nothing - just the piano. I asked him about delivery. They charged for delivery - he thought about £20 but couldn't give me any indication if they had any in or when delivery might be. At this point I said thanks and left - I was not going to give them my business.
I went home and started to research the Kawai - just in case. I found (as already stated) OK reviews of the KDP80, but glowing ones for the KDP90 - backing up everything I had found from playing it. I then researched prices and found that everywhere (including ukpianos) charged £799 but there were variations on what else you could get. Most offered a 'bundle' of a stool and headphones; a couple of other offered interest free credit; there was a little variety on warranty, but nothing too much.
In the end I chose Bonners for a couple of reasons:
- I rang them and they were incredibly courteous and helpful, even though I indicated there was no guarantee I would buy from them but I was just enquiring.
- Their website is well built and easy to navigate and gives the information you need.
- Their bundle included free delivery, the stool, headphones and 3 year warranty, but also interest free credit over 12 months with a small 10% deposit and quick delivery. This meant I could have a brand new digital piano in my home before Christmas at around £60 a month. Their on-line credit application was simple and very quick (turned round completely from start to finish in 48 hours as they advertise) and they confirmed, by phone, acceptance of my ID documents on Saturday morning and delivery date of Friday 20th December. They also kept in contact with me via email while the process was going through. The piano was ordered and delivered within a week, just in time for Christmas, and has so far lived up (if not exceeded) all my expectations. I'm incredibly impressed with Bonners as a supplier.
I appreciate this is supposed to be a review of UK Pianos - which it sort of is as it was through their unbiased and no pressure advice I was able to thoroughly compare pianos and find the deal that best suited me. I certainly found their guide helpful and used all the tests they recommended. But I do have a couple of suggestions for UK Pianos:
- Website: it looks a bit old fashioned and not very professional; they may want to consider a revamp
- Reviews: keep them up to date, particularly on new models when they come out; the reviews of the KDP80 could put people off the KDP90 which would be a shame as I think it's a great piano
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