Posted on

Take It Away

Take It Away offers interest free loans to purchase musical instruments, gear and software. They are managed by Creative United, a not-for-profit Community Interest Company and funded by the Arts Council England. At Hickies Music Store with the “Take It Away” scheme, you can get a interest free loan of between £100 and £5,000.

To be eligible you must:

  • Be over 18 years old
  • Be a permanent UK resident
  • Have a regular income that exceeds £5,000 per year
  • Hold a bank or building society account capable of handling direct debit payments

Posted on

Yamaha YDP vs CLP | What is the difference and which should you choose?


At Hickies we sell every Yamaha digital piano in production. Naturally we get many questions from our customers trying to make a comparison between these models to best understand which will suite them most. This article outlines both the Yamaha Arius “YDP” and Yamaha Clavinova “CLP” range of digital pianos to make the best comparison of the ranges that we can. We chose to compare the Arius and Clavinova range because they are created for a similar purpose, to replicate the experience of playing on an acoustic piano. However this experience is tailored by Yamaha to different types of musicians and with vastly different budgets in mind.

If You Like This Article, These Might Be Helpful Too

So lets at a first glance outline all of the digital pianos that make up the Arius and Clavinova line of digital pianos by Yamaha, we’ve given a short overview of each model and a link to these pianos in our store. Then we’ve outlined in detail the most important specification to compare the models in each range. Lastly we’ve offer our best recommendations for some of the common scenarios that customers often need when they visit our store.

Yamaha YDP Arius Range

The Arius range is Yamaha’s attempt to make the best “student” digital piano. What is implied by student piano? This simply mean that Yamaha. In total there are two different YDP models for 2018 these include:

Yamaha YDP-143

This is just a test

Our YDP-143 Is Here –>

Yamaha YDP-163

This is just a test

Our YDP-163 Is Here –>

Yamaha CLP Clavinova Range

The Clavinova range is Yamaha’s attempt to produce the best digital piano possible, with no budgeting taken into account. In total there are eight different CLP models for 2018 these include:

Yamaha CLP-625

This is just a test

Our CLP-625 Is Here –>

Yamaha CLP-635

This is just a test

Our CLP-635 Is Here –>

Yamaha CLP-645

This is just a test

Our CLP-645 Is Here –>

Yamaha CLP-675

This is just a test

Our CLP-675 Is Here –>

Yamaha CLP-685

This is just a test

Our CLP-685 Is Here –>

Specification Comparison

Here we have some of the most relevant specifications for the Arius and Clavinova range of Yamaha digital pianos. These specs use some specific terminology defined by Yamaha themselves. We have a few articles that explain some of these Yamaha technologies and reading them

You May Find These Helpful

Arius Specifications

Spec YDP-143 YDP-163
Action Type 1 1

Clavinova Specifications

Spec YDP-625 YDP-635 YDP-645 YDP-675 YDP-685
Action Type 1 1 1 1 1


So which Yamaha digital piano do you think might be right for you? This can vary considerably for many reasons, here is our best outline that we explain to our customers in store.

New to the piano or on a budget?

A digital can be a great place to start for many new pianists because they cost less than an acoustic and can be played with headphones. If you live in the UK we also offer a digital piano rental service, if you are in this category then this service may be helpful to you.

Thinking of the CLP-625?

You might be better off upgrading to the CLP-635 or downgrading to the YDP-163. The CLP-625 shares the same functions and keyboard action as the YDP-163 but is on average about £300 pounds more expensive. Equally the CLP-645 is on average about £400 more expensive but you get… With these things considered it is often hard to recommend the CLP-625 compared to the rest of the Clavinova and Arius range.

You want a very authentic playing experience?

The system is the most accurate keyboard system that Yamaha has to offer. If you spend a moment a play a

Posted on

Russ’s Second-Hand Guitar Buying Guide

It’s no secret that the prices of new guitars are steadily on the rise, for example – 10 years ago an American made Stratocaster was half as much as a near identical model at today’s value and that rise doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon. As a result of this trend a lot of manufactures are creating more mid price-budget level guitars like never before, but there is another option.. Buy second hand!

It’s a potentially daunting experience buying a 2nd hand instrument but it can be absolutely worth it as you could genuinely pickup an incredible instrument at a price that’s a steal, granted it may take a little time but part of thrill of the quest is not knowing what will fall in front of you and the satisfaction of finding something at a price you are willing to pay is quite the buzz. Here are my best tips for finding your own Excalibur in the rough.

Where Do I Start?

There are plenty of great places to begin your journey and a lot of them for the most part are online, Gumtree, Reverb and dedicated Facebook/social media groups are great as they give you an idea of what an item is worth on the secondary market as well as what is trending in terms of popularity. In addition to these you can also have a look in dedicated 2nd hand music stores or shops with a significant second hand section, something that is rising in popularity across the country in response to the price increases.

Know Your Stuff (Or At The Least Google It)  

Knowing what an item that you’re looking for is worth in terms of its new and second hand value is SO important, the nearest analogy I can make is that a guitar is like a car in as much as after its bought and played it will lose a fair amount of value (sometimes as much as 50%!), the higher the quality of the instrument however the more a guitar holds its value as will always have a fan-base. Some sellers may also overestimate the value of a model due to brand or sentimental value so be careful out there and if you’re not familiar with the market value of certain models then simply Google it, it takes seconds and can save you hundreds (and in rare cases thousands) of pounds.


Getting your hands on the instrument that you’ve laboured to track down is absolutely crucial as photos tend to hide a cardinal of sins and until you get to see the instrument with your naked eye you have no idea what condition it will truly be in. Always without fail check the neck and headstock for any breakages or subtle warping as these can affect value dramatically and you don’t really want to have to fork out for a guitar tech or luthier to repair the instrument right out of the gate (or it may give you clout to at least haggle the price down to supplement that substantial expense). In addition to this it’s advised to check for any damages that weren’t listed in its item description and that the models serial number matches any certification that they should have (especially on the more expensive ranges). Finally if the instrument is an electric guitar or an acoustic with a pre-amp always test it plugged in to an amp, not necessarily to check its sound although that’s also advised but more importantly to check to see if the electronics are in one piece i.e. If there is a crackling noise when turning the volume or tone controls, a volume jump between pickup selection or a silent pickup then you may need to take the instrument to get repaired (another cost). Once again being savvy at this stage can save you a lot of money and even more heartache.

Does It “Feel” Right?

Finally always ask yourself at every stage of the process if it all “feels” right, does the seller seem reputable? Do you really want the instrument? Are you buying it for the right reasons? Do you like how it sounds or feels? And always and I mean ALWAYS trust your gut, as buying anything second hand requires a fair amount of faith but the rewards are potentially huge as you could literally find the guitar of your dreams and even models that are no longer part of the catalogues of current manufactures.

Good luck with your searches! The Journey to Axe heaven is certainly worth your patience and time but the road isn’t always a clear one, just be patient and always follow your gut.

To see the stock of second hand instruments that we have at Hickies Reading click here