Digital pianos are a great alternative to acoustic pianos and will certainly save you quiet a bit of money. With a little bit of research you should be able to find a piano that is not only affordable, but will also last you for years to come. Below are a few things to keep in mind before buying your first piano.
It seems to be a major marketing ploy to advertise who has the most sounds in the built-in library when it comes to digital pianos, but that doesn’t necessarily make the difference in choosing which is best. Honestly, most of the sounds you find in those massive sounds banks are useless and you probably won’t use them more than once. Sure it can be fun to play around with the fire engine sounds or the scream of a stadium packed crowd, but realistically are you really going to use those when playing the piano? I highly doubt it. What’s more important is the actual quality of the sounds.
The quality of piano samples have come a long way since the old electric keyboards that sound more like midi ringtones from the 90’s. The big manufactures have gone to great lengths to mimic the sounds of some of the most expensive grand pianos available and that same quality of sound is what you want to look for in your digital piano.
If this is a piano for someone who is just starting out then price should be a major concern. Before I was born my father went out and bought my mother a very expensive acoustic piano because she was dead-set on learning to play. Initially she dabbled with it and used some beginner books, but ultimately it just collected dust in the living room, at least until I was old enough to start teaching myself. My point is, you don’t want to end up like my parents who spent a small fortune on what they thought was going to be a frequently played piano.
Luckily the costs of a digital piano are pretty affordable and for less than $500 you can find some quality keyboards that you won’t outgrow overnight.
Number of Keys
Let me sum this up pretty quickly by saying you must buy a keyboard with 88 keys. If you end up with a piano with only 61 keys you’ll end up outgrowing it fairly quickly and will be back in the market for another piano within a year. 88 keys will allow you to play whatever your heart desires and you won’t have to worry about adapting songs to fit on your less than standard keyboard.
Also, weighted keys are a must. Weighted keys mimic the actually feeling of an acoustic piano. When pressed harder the note will ring out louder, and when used softer the tone will be quieter, just like you were playing a real piano.
To me the more realistic a piano feels the better because ultimately you want to be able to sit down at an acoustic piano and feel comfortable.
Speakers & Headphones
Some digital pianos come with built in speakers, while others require the purchase of external speakers. In my opinion you’re better off buying one with built-in speakers because its just one less thing to worry about and it adds to the portability of the piano.
Any piano you buy will come with a headphone input, but some have the ability to support more than one set of headphones. This is really a matter of personal preference as to whether or not you see a need for multiple headphone jacks. If you expect to take piano lessons with an instructor and need to keep the sound at a minimum, then you may find a use for an additional jack.
My Suggestions For Beginners
Below are a few of my personal suggestions for the best pianos currently on the market for beginners.
Casio PX150 BK 88-Key Touch Sensitive Privia Digital Piano with Tri-Sensor Scaled Hammer Action – CLICK HERE for pricing
Beginner or not the Casio is one of my favorite pianos. The company has gone above and beyond to offer a quality keyboard at a great price. I always recommend this piano to others and I know a few instructors who recommend it as well!
Williams Allegro 88-Key Digital Piano – CLICK HERE for pricing
This is one of the cheapest digital pianos I’ve seen on the market. While it is affordable it also checks off all the list of criteria making the Williams Allegro a great beginners piano.