Personally I'd probably just go on craigslist and opt for a cheapo 88 key digita w/sustain, I picked up a Yamaha DGX-500 (barely used) for $300. From all the digitals I've sampled none really compare against a real piano, if you ever plan on moving out I'd just hold onto your money and put it towards something very nice, perhaps.. an Ebony Grand?
That's not a bad find. I've been checking Craiglist for the past 5 days, but so far it's been pretty dry. I may make a "want to buy" post after I finish taking care of some personal business.
Hah, and I love the idea of getting an Ebony Grand! Actually, I'd probably get a used Yamaha U3 or something like that to start off with. $6,000 -$8,000, I can afford. $15,000? At that point I'll start thinking about upgrading my car.
It's not a piano per se, but I recently sold half my right arm and part of my leg to purchase a Yamaha MO8 (sells for around $2,000 - found one barely used on eBay for half the price). It's really a synthesizer. I chose that particular one because I thought it looked beautiful and I got hopelessly attached to it and I simply couldn't leave without taking it home. Seriously though, I chose a synth because I want to get more into music production, but my background is piano, and for simply doing piano stuff, it's great, too. Keys feel pretty realistic, as far as piano keys go. Sound is awesome.
"The two most important forms of intelligence are the ability to read other people and the ability to understand oneself." -Bruce Pandolfini
"Feathers filled the small room. Our laughter kept the feathers in the air. I thought about birds. Could they fly is there wasn't someone, somewhere, laughing?"
— Jonathan Safran Foer (Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close)
As an additional note it is worth mentioning that there are some uprights (at least by Yamaha) for which the middle pedal is designed to drop a sheet of felt between the hammers and strings. This muffles the sound and I suspect the purpose is for apartment practice. The actual tone that results from this feature is not great, but if apartment life is short-term and you would ideally like an acoustic piano it could be an option.
There are great many benefits to going the electronic keyboard route including ease of transport if and when you need to move. The issue with weighted keys is a big one for the muscle development in your hands. A sustain pedal is also necessary if you are going to be playing repertoire written for acoustic piano.
edit: I teach piano at a community music school for a living and have a number of students with electronic keyboards. The above is what I recommend to them if an acoustic piano is not an option.
The first man to raise a fist is the man who's run out of ideas. H.G. WELLS
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. FEYNMAN If this is monkey pee, you're on your own.SCULLY
Seriously though, I chose a synth because I want to get more into music production, but my background is piano, and for simply doing piano stuff, it's great, too. Keys feel pretty realistic, as far as piano keys go. Sound is awesome.
Is the M08 like a baby Motif? Glad to hear you're so happy with it!