Choosing the best piano

People choose their instrument for a variety of reasons. Some would make a choice because of how it might fit in with the furniture, some consider the most affordable, and some because of special features that sound inviting.

What are the options ?

The term ‘keyboard’, or digital piano is usually used to describe the electronic version of a ‘piano’.

A piano

  • Has 88 strong keys
  • Needs tuning, periodically
  • Sometimes changes in tone depending on climate conditions
  • Requires no electric power to produce sound

A keyboard

  • Requires no tuning by a technician
  • Can be made with one of three ‘touch’ options
  • Might fit into a small space
  • can be packaged and transport easily

Historically, only acoustic pianos were used for learning, practice and performance but with the coming of the electronic keyboards there are many options. So what are the features that would suit someone who intends to play keyboards as a hobby?

Size

Keyboards are available in 3 mains sizes, defined by the number of keys: 88-keys, 76-keys and 61-keys. There are also smaller sizes but those are not recommended. You might wish to start with the most affordable and most useful. The small keyboards would appeal to you. However, as your skills improve, you will likely outgrow the smaller instruments, so an 88-key is ideal for the long term and for its good resale value.

Weight of keys

Keyboards are also available with weighted keys, semi-weighted keys, and light. Weighted keys are the closest to those of the original piano and are highly recommended, especially to preserve the muscles of the hands which are used continuously.

Sound

The keyboard is usually designed with a ‘piano’ sound as the default. It is important that this is as close to an authentic piano sound as possible. You can try out other types of instrument sounds and drum patterns, but it is the piano sound that is most important.

Accessories
  • A keyboard stand at the correct height. Each hand should form a right angle at the elbow when the hand rest on the keys
  • A stool or chair free of handles
  • A dust cover to keep dust away
  • A surge protector and electric outlet connection
  • An amplifier with speaker, if not designed with the keyboard
  • Cables to connect the equipment

Always store in a dry place mounted on the stand for easy access.

Based on the above considerations, the ideal would be a weighted keyboard with 88 keys but constraints of space and affordability might call for a compromise.

Here are some pianos I recommend :

 

YAMAHA PSR-EW400  for beginners

CLICK PIANO TO PURCHASE

Review and enjoy the demo. Click here

Practice, practice, practice  

 

KORG LP- 380 Digital Piano for home

CLICK PIANO TO PURCHASE

Review and  enjoy the demo

Practice your music in a cozy corner

 

 

 

 

Roland 300NX for great sounds

CLICK PIANO TO PURCHASE

Review and enjoy the demo  

Ready for performance !

 

 

YAMAHA YPG-235 Portable Grand for home     

Review and enjoy the demo.                                                                               

CLICK PIANO TO PURCHASE

Get ready to play !     

 I would love to hear from you. Please let me know what features appeal to you when choosing a piano/keyboard.

 

 

 

 

 

6 Comments

  1. Marquis Lee

    Thanks for this informative article. I have been making music for about 5 years now and I use a midi keyboard with my home studio. I am looking to include a real piano or live keyboard that I can also use for live venues as well. What keyboard would you suggest for that one that will allow me to plug in my computer but also use live and plug into monitors?

    Reply
    1. Joy (Post author)

      You are welcome. Choice of keyboard always comes down to personal preference, especially considering what kind of music you play. I like the Roland RD 700 because, like you, I like the real piano sound and it provides for some expressive soloing. It has 88 keys and easy access to other sounds when playing live. A step down from that is the RD 300 SX also good. Check out the sound and the features of the RD 700 on you tube. Best wishes !!

      Reply
  2. Louise

    Hi Joy 🙂 I am a part-time piano teacher and so your site is of great interest to me!

    This post is exactly what I need to recommend to my pupils when they’re debating whether to buy a piano or keyboard and what the difference is. It can be so difficult making your first purchase – a lot of it comes down to budget and space!

    I’m glad to read you have now made music your full-time career. I too, have fairly recently made music a bigger part of my life again – and I’ve certainly no regrets!

    Reply
    1. Joy (Post author)

      Hi Louise. So glad to hear from someone with similar interests. Music full time can be so fulfilling. There are so many who would like to play even a few songs. I am on a mission to help people bring out their inner musician. Thank you for your comments. Best wishes

      Reply
  3. Babacar

    Hi there,
    First, thank you for the great explanation and more importantly the difference between the piano and the keyboard. My younger son is very good in piano (at least at school) and I was thinking to buy him a keyboard.
    Can you tell me if he plays keyboard his piano skills will get better? The only reason why I want to buy a keyboard is maintenance and space.
    Thank you

    Reply
    1. Joy (Post author)

      Hi Babacar. Thank you for your comments. Many people, although they would love to have a piano, don’t have the space or the money for one. Your son can do just as well on a keyboard with weighted keys, and with 76 or 88 keys. The digital piano is also better than a synthesizer. You really want one with a good piano sound, as close to that of an acoustic piano as possible. Wishing you both the best on his musical journey !!!

      Reply

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