The Gear Page

♪ All I Ever Wanted ♪

Read all about my recommendations for Pianos, Keyboards, Benches and Pedals! And check out our Portland Piano Lessons Etsy shop!

Etsy Shop
young boy wearing a yellow Portland Piano Lessons t-shirt


There's still no substitute for an upright piano and it remains the best learning piano around. There are remarkable piano shops in most every city - here's my favorites in Portland, OR. Even if you're not in the market to buy one immediately, I highly recommend touring each of them.'s my favorite way to spend a rainy afternoon.

Classic Pianos - This place is incredible. Three floors of pianos and some are upwards of $200k. They carry more world class piano brands than any other store on the West Coast and their service is incredible. - particularly their trade up program.

Michelle's Pianos - This lovely southeast shop is as local as it gets - which is saying something here in Portland. They live in Portland, gig in Portland and display local Portland artists work in their shop on SE Stark. They sell new and used and do repairs, too.

Steinway & Sons - I was lucky enough to have a Steinway for many years and can attest that they are incredible to play. The soundboard in a Steinway is made in such a way that the resulting sound tends to be louder than any other pianos in their class. The one Portland location is in Lake Oswego.

Guitar Center - I almost didn't add this one as I much prefer the local options. And to be honest, the service here can be really awful. But they offer some terrific digital pianos at excellent prices and have financing options that can't be beat - and sometimes that's the highest priority.


Digital pianos are very different than the old electronic keyboards (though they certainly look similar). They reproduce recordings from top notch pianos rather than electronic representations of a piano and many contain features such as weighted keys and hammer action (both of which I very much recommend). Wooden pianos are my favorite, but digital pianos continue to woo me with the following bonuses: they require less space than a wooden piano, they never need to be tuned, most can be connected to a computer and the volume is adjustable (plus there's typically a spot for headphones). I especially like Yamahas and Casios and the following are some particular favorites:

Casio CDPS160

I've loved Casio since I was 6 and played on a bright neon handheld keyboard lol. These days, Casio garners a great deal of respect in the digital piano world. It's hard to go wrong with this brand and this keybaord is a great deal! For a bit more, you can bundle it with everything else you'll need: a stand, pedals and a bench.

Casio CDPS160 black keyboard

Casio PX-770

The Casio Privia series is my favorite from Casio. These keyboards feels so much like acoustic pianos and are wonderful training instruments. Whether you go with a black  px-770 or px-870 or a red px-s1100rd or mustard px-s7000, you'll be playing a beautiful piano with a realistic touch and an excellent sound!

brown Casio PX-770 keyboard with black bench and headphones

Yamaha P-71

Yamahas are the best in the world of digital pianos. They feel better, sound better, last longer. There are some individual Casio models that play better than individual Yamaha models... but overall, Yamahas win the day. Choose any Yamaha that has 88 weighted keys with hammer action and you'll be good to go!

black Yamaha P-71 keyboard with pedal and plug

Yamaha YDP165 Arius Series

You'll need a stand, bench and pedals to go with your keyboard. You may need an adjustable bench if the piano student in your home is on the short side. But if that's not the case, this is an excellent deal on a beautiful, excellent setup!

brown Yamaha YDP165 Arius series keyboard plus bench


At our first lesson, I'll check your height at the keys to make sure your elbows are above or in line with the keys. If they're not, I'll ask you to raise yourself up, ideally with an adjustable bench. This links you to one of the cheapest options - I used one of these for years and they're great! There are also fancier ones like this and this and this and honestly many more. 

How and where you sit has a big effect on how you play. I recommend investing in a great bench if you can.

black adjustable bench with knob


For all folks whose feet don't reach the ground, a pedal extender will be needed toward the end of the first year. A footstool is needed until that time. 

Pedal extenders sit on top of your pedals and allow folks under 5' to pedal with good posture. There are lots of different types and they come in both black and brown so that you can get one to match your piano.

black, shiny pedal extender with gold pedals

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