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 Starting Piano 
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Godzilla

Joined: Wed Jul 30, 2008 1:55 pm
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Post Starting Piano
Hey I was thinking about starting to learn piano but I have a few questions:

1) How hard would it be to teach myself? My main aim is to be able to play stuff like some Muse and Jack's Mannequin, and also do some composing on it (the idea is it will also help my guitar playing).

2) Could anyone reccomend a cheap(ish) keyboard to start on? I don't want to go spending too much incase I loose interest cause it's too difficult or anything.

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Wed Jul 22, 2009 10:42 pm
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God Of The Sun
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I don't have any answers to your questions, but I've heard that shawn lane used to play piano after practicing guitar, and he claims that playing piano and guitar made him play better on guitar.

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Thu Jul 23, 2009 8:58 am
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Godzilla

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:) That's what I'm hoping. Also it might make me learn some of the dreaded musical theory. dun dun duuun!!

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Thu Jul 23, 2009 10:56 am
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Godzilla
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Tomorrow when I get home from school I'll venture downstairs and check out what keyboard mine is.

Unfortunately I can't tell you if it is good because i have no idea what a good keyboard should have, I bought for pretty much the same reason as you :P


Thu Jul 23, 2009 11:15 am
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Viking Kong
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Also, Brain May composed a lot of his songs on piano because on guitar he knew exactly where his fingers would fall and what chords he would follow others up with whereas on piano, he may play something more unnexpected.

I've started trying to teach myself piano but I don't have a keyboard so it's only when I'm at my brother's house I get to practice. Needless to say, it's not going very quickly so I will keep an eye out for suggestions for what to buy!

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Thu Jul 23, 2009 2:19 pm
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Dr. X

Joined: Mon Dec 01, 2008 11:15 pm
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playing piano didn't really increase my guitar technique skills to be honest (I've been playing classical piano now for 6 years), if that's what you're hoping for; it's two different things in my book.
but it became way easier to concentrate on multiple things for me.
singing and playing guitar simultaniously was always kind of hard for me, but it feels way easier since I started playing the piano.
overall I feel like my concentration became better.
and of course I learned a lot of theory. but I do have a great piano teacher and never had one for guitar, so maybe, that's not much of a point for you.
I wanted to go classical, and I think it would be really hard to achive any impressive results without instruction. there's a lot you can do wrong, and even after these years I'd still have a hard time to write decent fingerings or phrasings for a bach piece for example.

but this surely could be different if you want to do the pop/rock stuff.
though I love muse, I don't think their piano stuff is all too complicated. difficult; maybe, but that's again something different.
95% of my problems during practise start in my head and not in my fingers. that's what piano really does for me and that's the challange I love so much.
it just feels great to have three/four or even more voices in your head and beeing able to play'em that way the ear can follow each one easily. though I'd say I wouldn't be able to hear all that without the practise.
when I started out I could listen to a bach fuga four times and follow another voice each time, hearing different things. but it takes time to be able to get it all at one time and to udnerstand how they relate to one another...

but anyway; if you are after the piano sound; I highly suggest to get a cheap piano and stay away from the keyboards.
my first piano did cost me around 200€ (picked up locally). it wasn't all that great as you can imagine, but just as you I didn't want to invest a fortune as a beginner.
but a real piano will sound far more alive than a keyboard, the action feels more natural (think of dynamics, legato and such) you get pedals that actually work as they're supposed to and it is overall such a more satisfying experience.
I do own a roland A90 masterkeyboard as well by now, but I do prefer a real piano any day. a keyboard will feel like playing guitar hero once you had a piano.
but it all depends on where you're going.

if you just want to fool around a bit and compose on piano/keyboard; I'd say it's not all that important what it feels and sounds like since you will adapt the ideas to guitar anyway.
but if you see a chance you want to learn piano as a second instrument for self purpose; get a real piano.

if you don't have free space for a piano, live in a hardly accessable room (carrying a piano upstairs is not a lot of fun), or you want to go electrical due to noise reasons or an easier recording situation I'd say get either a masterkeyboard or an e-piano. synth are great for a lot of different sounds but they usually just don't feel that solid and often simply lack keys.

cheap keyboards often have the problem that the number of notes to be played at one time is quite limited (think of the ghosting effect on some computer keyboards). nothing sucks more than playing a big chord and not hearing three of the notes since you're keyboard can't handle it.
maybe even cheap keyboards are better nowadays, but be sure to check that when you try one.


Thu Jul 23, 2009 11:56 pm
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Godzilla

Joined: Wed Jul 30, 2008 1:55 pm
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A lot of muse stuff is based around Chopin pieces, and a few other classical composers. The rest of the stuff I listen to sounds not too complicated.

I would greatly prefer a keyboard due to the fact it's easier to transport and I can practice at night without waking people. Seeing as I'm going down this route what sort of stuff should I be looking out for?

Why would piano be so hard without instruction? Surely it would be a case of looking up the basics on the internet then just working from there?

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Fri Jul 24, 2009 1:26 am
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Dr. X

Joined: Mon Dec 01, 2008 11:15 pm
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sorry for the delay, I was bizzy with wacken!! :twisted:

I'd not say muse is all too classical.... space dementia could have kind of a chopinesque feel to it but it really is scratching the surface.
I dig muse for what they are so no offense intended. :)

well, if you like to travel around and play all night an acoustic piano would not be for you, agreed. but never the less, I'd give it a try. go to a store and play different keyboards and a piano for comparison and you'll see what I mean.
keyboards that do have a decent feel and some dynamics to them tend to get really expensive easily.

piano is harder to learn without instruction because you have to do more things at once than you actually can pay attention of on your own.
every piano teacher will tell you that there's nothing more difficult than curing someone who's self taught for years.
concentrating on one thing will automaticly get your attention off the other four or five things which atuallly deserve it at the same time.

I'm not sure wether reading from the net will get you where you want to go.
if you can read notes you're mostly done with the essentials. it's not guitar where you have different fields on the fretboard for the same notes.
it's one note each key and vise versa as you know.
it's just really the problem that you won't mention many faults besides wrong notes as a beginner.

keep your thumbs away from the black keys during runs and try to play the notes as close together as you can without overlapping during legato play. keep a straight angle of your forearms to the keyboard, keep your fingers round and hit the keys on the front of it whereever it's possible. do staccatos out of your wrist and throwing chords out of your wrist will make it more even also instead of pushing each finger down seperatly (you will tend to break chords up otherwhise).
try to think of fingerings that will keep each line closed, don't phrase where it's not intended or musical.
don't overdo the sustain pedal (it will fuck up your legato) and do yourself a favour and don't start out with all too heavy stuff.
train each hand seperatly up to speed before trying bothhanded and go back with speed again once you do.
this is all of help I can think of right now.

if you don't want to get a teacher or can't afford one at the moment; best would be if you had a friend or someone playing piano that will instruct you at the start and check your progress and technique once in a while.
if you can; find out about some good beginners books and don't rush through it.

just take your time and you'll maybe make it somehow. :)
I wish you the best of luck, it's a beautiful instrument.
it can do many things a guitar can't do and the other way round, so it's a good expansion for you as a musician I think.


Tue Aug 04, 2009 2:39 pm
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Viking Kong
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I have an upright in my living room--it belongs to my grandmother. It needs tuning, but still works. I've composed a few simple pieces on the piano, but don't know how to read sheet music so I can only get so far with it. I was looking into going electronic for a few reasons: One, portability; two, cost efficiency; three, level of maintenance. The electronic keyboard I was looking into utilized an expression/sustain pedal to make it feel more like an acoustic. It's not the same thing, but it's at least more convenient. The added bonus is that if I ever decide to record with it, I won't be bothered with microphones and ambient noise (e.g., depressing/releasing pedals). It's the same factors that push me in the direction of an electronic drum kit.

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Tue Aug 04, 2009 7:06 pm
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Superhero
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One of the things that really sets the piano apart from the rest, is its visual characteristics. IMO its really easy to see scales and arpeggios on a piano, and because of this you can find the more interesting notes without thinking as hard.


Tue Aug 04, 2009 7:16 pm
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