Many years ago, in my late teens, I was starting to play bass but I had a needed a keyboard to work ideas out on. What I really wanted was a piano, or at least an electric/electronic piano (so I could plug headphones in). My bandmates at the time talked me out of this and into buying a Yamaha DX21. This was great fun with hundreds of sounds and an algorithmic programming language that I still don't fully understand. The downside was it had too many sounds and the keys didn't respond like piano keys and, most importantly, it wasn't a piano.
The DX21 got used to create crazy tunes and even got hauled on stage a few times. Then it slowly sat there, gathering dust until I traded it in help fund a decent bass amp.
A few months ago I was walking down Denmark street with my wife and we were talking about pianos. We were on our way to see the incredible Neil Cowley Trio at the Barbican and had been listening to a lot of piano playing. I went into one of the many music shops, asked a few questions and tried a number of keyboards out. In our house we could never have a real piano but the electronic version could work. It turned out that the price of one of these was just within our grasp. Excitement was generated.
Today I ordered the piano.
Obviously an electronic piano will never sound as good as the real thing. But knowing we've got 88 weighted keys on an instrument with only a few sounds is a wonderful thing. I can't imagine a better present for our family (except maybe a house somewhere else). Let the piano madness begin.