Now, if you wanted something to use in a band situation then a grand piano is out of the question and so is a upright for the simple reason that these pianos cannot be transported easily. so you would start of looking at an electronic piano or keyboard. Now if you require the piano to make a lot of different instrument sounds then you will need something capable of producing these sounds but things like keyboard width and weighted keys are optional. The same type of instrument is suitable for a person that is looking to compose complex pieces but is not applicable to some body trying to program notes in to a computer. For this task all that is needed is a small keyboard that is compatable with the computer you are using.
Now the last and what will be the most important factor is the price. Now if price wasn’t an issue we would have the best sounding coolest looking and most hi tech instrument available sitting in the piano room of our mansion but unfourtunatley for most of us we don’t have this choice. So how do we get all of the features we want at the price we want? Now there are a lot of pianos and keyboards available and depending what you need them for you can spend under one hundred or could spend in to the tens of thousands. Buying pianos or keyboards especially well known brands new can be expensive but if you want some thing that has a decent warranty and a proven track record then this is the way to go. If you are willing to look at other makes then you might be able to get some thing that fits the bill at a reduced rate because the brand name is not that well known. The only way to know if you are buying a dud or a hidden treasure is to do some research.
Now to do that look at the specs for the piano are they right for you? Will they do the job? Is it a practical instrument for you? If so then how do you know that it will do the job you need it to do. Try it out that will be the easiest way to tell if the piano does what you need it to do and most good piano/keyboard outlets will let you spend time making sure that you are making the best choice. Ask questions. If it is a piano. How much does it weigh? Will the removalist be able to get it in to my house? if it is a keyboard. How are the keys weighted? as older or lesser quality electronic pianos have springs to create the feeling of weight but the higher quality and newer instruments have a mechanism that feel very close to an acoustic piano. Do you have any reviews? Does it come with a warranty? You can also look at some of the reputable review sites or forums online these are usually real people who have tried these instruments. Ask your piano teacher if they are familiar with the brand. If you are looking in to playing in a band ask other musicians. Is it hard to transport? Is it reliable? What is the sound quality like? If you are going to use it to input music into a computer. Will it be compatable with my computer? Will I need more software? Will I need to buy any accessories? If you are satisfied with the way the instrument sounds and it does what you need it to do and you are happy with the answers for the questions and research you have done then this may be the piano for you.
The next option is second hand now choosing a piano or keyboard this way can be fraught with danger as every one has heard those stories if people getting lumped with a lemon. Now this is where experience will be invaluable. If you know some one who has experience with pianos like a piano tuner or keyboard sales person or piano teacher then try and get them to help they can advise you weather the instrument you are looking at will be right for you. They can also tell you what a fair price would be for the instrument. When buying pianos second hand you need to know things like how long ago was the piano tuned? Because the longer a piano has stayed untuned the more likely it will be that it may not be able to be tuned to concert pitch. Try all of the keys and pedals to make sure they are in working order this applies to electronic keyboards as well. If there is some thing wrong find out if it will cost you to fix it and how much it will cost. Have a look and make sure that the piano is in good shape structurally as this may cause problems as well. Use common sense pay when you pick the instrument up. Check that all things are working the day you pick it up. If you are buying a keyboard to use with your computer make sure it will work with the computer you have.Now buying second hand can knock $150 -$300 off the price of an instrument so this can be a really good way to get an instrument cheaper but you will miss out on warranties and garantees. if you use common sense and do your research it should make this process run a lot smoother. If you are buying make sure you factor in the cost of removals and tuning as this may make a great price seem expensive really fast.
Remember why you want to play the piano? And what your goals are? And what kind of piano is right for you. Does the piano/keyboard do all of the things you need it to do. Will it fit in to the space it will be positioned. If you are using it for a band is it portable? Does it have the audio capabilites required? Is it the right price? If the instrument does all of these things then it could be the instrument for you.