Music – and how to make it – is constantly evolving; a continuous “work in progress”, if you may. With the introduction of new inventions and innovations, it is taking leaps and bounds that would have been unimaginable centuries ago when the first ever musicians first laid their fingers on the black and white keys of grand pianos and performed inside stately drawing rooms. Today, in this digital age, making music is now accessible to more people, and one such advancement is the introduction of digital pianos.
Table of Content
- 1 The Rising Demand for Digital Pianos
- 2 Best Digital Pianos in 2015
- 3 Top 5 Digital Pianos
- 4 Tips on Choosing the Best Digital Piano
- 5 Tips and Tricks for learning a piano
- 6 Train yourself to play piano with both hands
- 7 Piano Playing FAQs
- 8 Tips for tuning a piano
- 9 Conclusion
The Rising Demand for Digital Pianos
Many people make the mistake of describing digital pianos as “electric pianos” or even those “electronic keyboards”. But there is much more to a digital piano, which is a modern electronic musical instrument that combines the essence of a traditional piano and the sound of an acoustic piano with the flexibility and versatility offered by modern technology.
The rising demand for digital pianos is best explained by looking at its major advantages over traditional and acoustic pianos. These also serve as the major considerations when looking for the best digital piano.
Cost Considerations. It is a widely-known fact that traditional pianos do not come cheap. In fact, you’d be hard-pressed to find a piano with less than 4 digits in its price tag. A digital piano, on the other hand, can be purchased at a lower cost, with some even selling below $500. The cost of maintenance of digital pianos is also definitely cheaper, since you won’t have to worry about environmental factors such as room temperature and humidity, which are often huge considerations when it comes to traditional pianos.
Convenience. You cannot expect to be lugging around a grand piano, can you? Digital pianos are more compact and lightweight and, since they are portable, you can easily move them anywhere. They can also be broken down and stored when not in use, saving you a lot of floor space. In addition, a digital piano also offers the convenience of doing away with having to tweak its strings or hammers to properly tune it. Since the sounds are digitally recorded, you can rely on the digital piano to NEVER go out of tune.
Versatility. Traditional and acoustic pianos operate only at a specific volume or sound level. With digital pianos, you can easily manipulate and adjust the sound level. When you want to play without disturbing other people, you also have the option of using headphones instead to keep the volume down.
More sound options. As much as people love traditional pianos, they cannot help but wish it could do more, and that’s where digital pianos come in. For starters, digital pianos offer more instrument sounds such as drum beats and strains of a flute. It’s like playing with an entire orchestra when all you have is a single digital piano. These digital pianos also come with three types of octaves – Four, Six, and Eight octaves – giving you more options.
Sound Recording function. Practice makes perfect, and you’ll have better practice if you have a way of ‘reviewing’ or tracking your progress. Sometimes, the built-in speaker that plays back the sound is just not enough. That’s where the Record function comes in. Most digital pianos these days are equipped with a sound recorder that allows users to record what they are playing, as well as external music.
Connectivity. Every digital piano comes with a MIDI performance functionality, which enables users to connect it with any musical instrument, a music player, or even a computer. It is also possible to add new music or even software in the digital piano, thanks to this function. In some models, there is a USB slot for added convenience.
With the entrance of digital pianos in the market, more and more people are given the opportunity to explore their musical creativity without worrying about money – and the lack thereof – and the usual difficulties and limitations usually encountered when using traditional pianos and acoustic pianos. What used to be a craft restricted to the elite few is now within reach of anyone who wants to create, or simply enjoy, music. Now the only issue left to worry about is picking the digital piano that suits their needs.
Best Digital Pianos in 2015
In order to provide customers an overview of 5 best digital pianos, we introduce a comparison chart with detailed features and specifications of them.
Top 5 Digital Pianos
With so many digital piano reviews found online, finding the best digital piano becomes tricky and, as a result, confusing. Let us take a look at the top 5 digital pianos available today. These models are selected based on touch sensitivity, sound quality, overall product quality, customer feedback, and price considerations.
1. Casio PX850
Casio brings you enhanced realism and simulates the performance of a grand piano with the Casio Privia PX850, which features Casio’s proprietary sound source called Acoustic and intelligent Resonator or, simply, “AiR”. It features a scaled and weighted 88-note Tri-sensor Hammer-action keyboard and Ebony and Ivory Feel Keys. These three sensors ensure accuracy and speed without compromising the timing nuance and the overall sound quality of this digital piano. Aside from a wide choice of instrument tones including, but not limited to, strings, bass and electric pianos, the PX-850 also has 256 polyphony tones. It also comes with a split-and-layer capability, where you can play bass in your left hand while playing two-layered tones in your right hand. In Duet mode, the keyboard can be split into two equal ranges, so two people – most probably a teacher and a student – can play with the keys at the same time.
Better than any cheap upright pianos, the Casio PX850 sounds and feels like a real piano, both in the richness of its tone and its great overall sound. At its price, it is comparable to having a real grand piano experience. This is highly recommended, especially for advanced piano players. Read more detailed reviews
2. Yamaha DGX650
Versatility is one of the marks of the best digital pianos, and the Yamaha DGX650 has that in spades. Everyone, regardless of skill level, will definitely have a blast playing, learning, and sharing music using this88-key piano, thanks to its many features. Get that authentic piano playing feel with its Graded Hammer Standard Action keyboard, and that accurate and highly realistic sound courtesy of its Damper Resonance and PureCF sampling. In fact, these mixes of features drove many users to the conclusion that it is even better than a traditional acoustic piano. It has 128 polyphony notes, a USB Audio Recorder, four built-in speakers, two amplifiers, and AUX line input. It also comes with XG song files from the “You Are The Artist”series that you can use as your guide or accompaniment.
It’s definitely a great piano for those who are still learning, from training their finger technique until such time that they have developed their own style. This is made possible by its Style Recommender feature, which will give you suggestions on styles that are suitable for you. Another outstanding feature that you will definitely love about the Yamaha DGX650 is the Smart Chord, which has the ability to create entire chords whether you are playing something a simple pop song or a jazz piece. Amazon users gave this model an overall rating of 4.7 stars, with glowing digital piano reviews. Read more detailed reviews
3. Yamaha P105
Yet another model from Yamaha’s esteemed P-series, the Yamaha P105 boasts exceptional touch and tone and a user-friendly interface perfect for both beginners and experienced piano players alike. It offers Pianist Styles, with 10 built-in Styles that will give you a full piano accompaniment even if all you did was play a simple chord. It’s like having a built-in duet partner when you’re playing. This compact digital piano also uses Yamaha’s Pure CF sound engine, giving you a sound that is comparable to Yamaha’s CFIIIS concert grand piano. Just like other models in this series, its 88-weighted keyboard is designed with Graded Hammer Standard technology for greater sensitivity and an authentic touch. Aside from having built-in speakers, it also has USB TO HOST, as well as an AUX LINE OUT, which allow direct connectivity between the P105 and your computer.
No doubt, its modern stylish design will catch everyone’s eye, but more importantly, the main draws for this model include its amazing sound quality and hammer action, its PC connectivity feature, and the great price. Although some wish for higher storage capacity for the recordings and better foot pedal quality, the positive digital piano reviews for this product are enough to convince anyone to give this a try. Read more detailed reviews
4. Casio PX150
This list won’t be complete without mention of the Casio PX150, from Casio’s Privia digital piano line. It offers a new keyboard action by way of the redesigned Tri-Sensor, Scaled Hammer Action Keyboard, consisting of 88 keys. Piano sound is further improved since this model has three times the memory of previous Privia digital pianos. Of course, this is also attributed to Casio’s exclusive AiR sound source. It also has the well-loved Casio Privia features such as Duet Mode, Split and Layer, and Octave Shift. It also has the maximum number of polyphony notes – 128 notes – as well as 18 built-in tones, which is perfect for those who are only beginning to learn how to play the piano.
If there is one complaint against this model, it would have something to do with the stand height, which is a bit too high, especially for younger or shorter users. Read more detailed reviews
5. Yamaha P35
Leading Yamaha’s legendary P-series is the portable Yamaha P35, known for its superb sound and powerful elements. Weighing only 35.7 lbs, it also comes in a slim design (58.2 x 16.1 x 11.8 inches) that makes it easy to carry around and store when not in use. This compact instrument boasts Yamaha’s Advanced Wave Memory (AWM) sampling technology, using Left and Right waveforms in creating a deeper and richer piano sound.
Graded Hammer Standard technology is applied on the keyboard, making it sensitive enough and easily adjustable to match your playing style. Its one-button operation offers a very user-friendly interface, and you won’t even have a hard time looking for the “Grand Piano” button since it is visibly located on the front panel.
The more critical digital piano reviews for this model focuses on the limited number of polyphony notes it offers. It only has 32, which is less than what they’d originally hoped for. It would also have been better if it came with a recording function as well. However, despite all that, there is no denying that when it comes to excellent piano performance in a simplified design, the Yamaha P35 is considered by many to be the one of the best digital pianos out there. Read more detailed reviews
Tips on Choosing the Best Digital Piano
As much as you want to go out and buy the first digital piano that you come across, it would be a better idea, in the long run, to pause for a moment, so you can come up with a more informed decision. Of course, you wouldn’t want to buy something and then regret it later since it turns out to be different from what you needed. You will only be wasting money and time. Here are some tips that will help you in choosing the best digital piano.
Assess your skill and experience levels. Before anything else, conduct an objective self-assessment of your skills. How adept are you with playing the piano? Are you experienced and, if so, what types of piano have you played? This will give you a better idea on what digital piano to look for. It won’t do you any good if, as a beginner, you get a digital piano with features suitable for advanced and experienced players. Similarly, if you are already experienced, you’ll only be shortchanging yourself with a digital piano with only the most basic features.
Check your budget. How much are you willing to spend on a digital piano? It wouldn’t be a problem if you have a lot of money to throw around, but it’s a different story if you are on a tight budget. You don’t want to spend your time looking up a digital piano when, in the end, you won’t be able to buy it because it’s out of your price range.
Check for space availability. This is very important if you are purchasing a digital piano for personal use in your home. How much floor area or space do you have for a digital piano? If you are dealing with space constraints, you might want to direct your attention to the more compact and portable models.
Measure piano dimensions. Height compatibility is also a factor to be considered, so check out the dimensions or the measurements of the piano itself. Don’t make the mistake of getting tall pianos for use by kids or people of short stature.
Ascertain piano setup. If you expect to be constantly moving, or you simply don’t have enough floor space, consider a digital piano that can be easily broken down into parts and reassembled when necessary. Transporting lighter parts is also friendlier than hauling the heavier and bulkier models.
Check the piano’s sound quality. This is the most important consideration when choosing a digital piano. Look into the exact type or style of digital sound technology used by the piano manufacturer, and then conduct a personal sound test. Trust your judgment on whether the sound is realistic or not. One trick you can do is to press one key and see how long it holds the sound. Another trick would be to hold down the sustain pedal and press the C note.
Check the piano’s sound volume. Look into the speaker of the piano; there should be at least one internal speaker. Another thing to look into is the number of octaves that it has. If you want very good volume quality, make sure it has at least 4 octaves.
Get the proper keyboard. When choosing a digital piano, make sure that the keyboard has at least 88 keys and utilizes Graded Hammer technology. You don’t want your fingers to slip on the keys while playing so test that it offers an easy “grip”. You may also want to check that it has rhythm facilities and velocity response keys.
Check pedal response. Most digital pianos come with at least one pedal that acts to sustain the notes. Decide on the number of pedals you need in your digital piano (some have as much as 4 pedals) and proceed on checking how touch responsive they are and how much pressure they can take.
Check for add-ons. There are other functionalities that could “make or break” your decision on choosing a digital piano. Maybe you want one with an amplifier. Do you think you need a headphone jack? Perhaps you also want to make the most of your piano experience and would appreciate some connectivity features as well. Look for one with MIDI support as well as a USB port, which will enable easy connection with a computer or other media player.
Check warranty coverage. To better protect yourself in case there are defects or problems, make sure that the digital piano you are eyeing comes with a warranty with the maximum period possible. If it has a replacement warranty on parts, much better.
When in doubt, ask. There’s nothing wrong with asking for help. Talk to your piano teacher, or someone familiar with digital pianos. Talk with salespersons about the pros and cons of the digital pianos. You will also find reading digital piano reviews to be a great help.
Tips and Tricks for learning a piano
Musicians need passion and concentration but this has become difficult in todays’ intense pressure time where everyone is in a hurry with a list of to-dos in his mind all the time. Same is the case with pianists and this is one of the biggest hindrances for pianists too. Thus we have shared here some of the important tips and tricks that would enable you to effectively learn to play piano. Not only these tips would give you faster learning but you will be able to improve playing with more confidence and will develop good piano playing skills.
1. Learning basic fundamental theory improves your skills:
Learning some basics of music may appear to be boring initially however this fundamental learning is going to benefit you in big way as you progress in learning piano. This knowledge will not only improve your skills but it will enable you to expand your ability to play with increased variations and tones. Basics give you knowledge of differentiating between varied chords, notes, keys etc. This basic knowledge can be gained with private lessons, online resources or with a good music theory book.
2. Set clear objectives and organize practices:
A piano learner should have clear objectives and goals. It is appropriate to create clear goals for each practice session. You should write a planner for daily practice so that you have a clear idea about which areas to give most importance to during a session. Organize yourself efficiently to get desired results out of each session. Achieving daily goals would give you confidence and a feeling of accomplishment. Be motivated towards completion of each goal for daily practice session.
3. Warm-up for your practice session:
We recommend you to always have your hands over piano for warm-up before session. You can warm-up with a simple scales or notes that you can play with ease. Do not worry about few errors that you may make.
4. Don’t go too fast:
Slow and steady wins the race proves good here too. Initially your mind will not be able to absorb if you work over a lot of things with a fast pace. Go slowly in detail and give complete attention to whatever you are learning. Speed can be harmful and would have negative impact on learning mind. Do not over-burden your mind.
5. Concentrate on your practice:
Concentration and focus are key pillars for effective learning. Like all other instruments, piano also demands concentration and dedication from learner. Consistent practices with complete dedication would give you results that you will value. Keep your mind active during a learning session away from all other worries of your world. Remember you should not overwhelm yourself as this could lead to frustration. If you feel stressed, take a break from learning session and refresh your mind with other activities of your interest or simply relax. This practice will re-energize you for next session.
6. It is better to practice one short passage during a session:
Your mind may not be prepared to absorb a huge flow of information as this would be all new for it. We recommend you to learn piano slowly by practicing one short passage each day and practicing it with concentration and carefully. This may seem to be lengthening your learning period but over a long run it would be most beneficial for you.
7. Maintain a schedule of your practice sessions:
Schedule your piano learning sessions according to your own preference and suitability. Many of you may find morning to be the best time for practicing with fresh mind and some of you may want to practice in the evening for relaxation after hard working day. Preference is all yours but make sure that your mind is in a completely relaxed state to make practice a rewarding session. We also recommend you to maintain a note of each of your practice session. You can create a practice journal which should include information like what notes you learned on a specific day in how much time and other similar detail. This would give you an idea of how your planning is moving each day and would give you a stronger base for future planning.
8. It is important to enjoy what you do:
Without motivation and with lack of interest you will reach nowhere in learning piano. You should enjoy as you play and should have passion of music as you learn this instrument. Include some of your favorite music pieces in order to make session more interesting each day.
9. Excel your piano learning skills and knowledge with technology:
There is a great scope for learning with advance technologies being introduced every other day related to learning piano skills. You will be able to find a number of useful resources online with information for beginners and professional expert piano players too. Follow these resources as well as get useful tips with musical pieces from players of advance level. This would enable you to improve in building piano playing skills. More advanced portable digital pianos are available nowadays with which you can explore versatile tones, voices and can self-evaluate yourself for improvements. Advance pianos have interesting features that give you convenience and make learning more fun with intelligent apps and connectivity features.
Following these tips would give you improved piano skills and you will gain versatility and productivity by applying all these tips and tricks.
Train yourself to play piano with both hands
You may have trained yourself to play a particular note with your right or left hand but using both hands together for playing piano is certainly more difficult. You may find yourself enjoying playing piano with either of your hands but piano learning needs a good co-ordination of both of your hands used together over its keys. You may even realize that both of your hands can play similar notes together but making different actions of movements with both hands is considerably difficult. This is a fact that your brain tends to get confused with two hands performing two different movements. Hands co-ordination is tricky and thus you need to practice well to deal with this confusing part of learning piano.
Here we have shared some useful tips that would enable you to use both your hands together for playing piano effectively:
- Improve on your reading skills for notes: If you find sight reading easy, it is more likely that you will be able to gain a par over playing with both hands quickly. Improve on your skills of reading by following various difficult notes. It is important that you must be able to differentiate between various notes and knowing this would make this learning even easier.
- Practice with one hand and then practice together with both hands: You should begin practicing by memorizing a phrase and playing it with one hand. Then practice the same passage with another hand. Keep your mind open while reading these notes. Now once you have mastered over this passage with each hand separately, you can begin practicing with both hands. During this process, you may find yourself slowing down for learning but don’t be stressed. Stick to practicing and soon you will master on it.
Some Important Tips to follow:
- Read the notes carefully before you begin playing with both hands.
- You should practice a particular passage couple of times with one hand and then play the same passage with other hand. This will give you confidence over a passage and you will find playing with both hands a bit more comfortable than otherwise.
- Practice with a slow speed and slowly increase the pace as you become more confident about a particular passage.
- Patience and concentration is most important.
- Take suggestions and advices from your listeners positively and improve.
Do not stress yourself as you would not be able to learn playing piano with both hands overnight. It would need you to practice regularly. Practice will make this co-ordination easier. Be focused and keep your mind clear from all other worries and let yourself flow with playing music over piano. If you are not able to get over it with few practice session, do not worry and keep yourself calm. Practice more and soon you will be able to get both your hands over piano for confident playing.
Piano Playing FAQs
An average piano should have how many keys?
An average piano includes 88 keys out of which 36 are sharp black keys and other is white keys. You may also find some pianos with 85 keys and some even have more than 88 keys. Additional keys are included to offer some extra resonance and larger sound. In general, a piano would include 88 keys.
Should I choose acoustic piano or a digital keyboard?
When you talk about experience of playing piano you will witness some difference between playing on an acoustic piano and a digital keyboard. Choice truly depends upon some practical reasons such as budget, space, maintenance. You can learn well over either of them and thus you should choose one that suits your style and preferences in the best possible manner.
What are piano pedals for?
A piano usually has two pedals, the left pedal is soft pedal and the right one is sustain pedal. Soft pedal gives the entire moving action a shift to one side that enables hammers to strike only two strings out of three. This mechanism makes the sound produced much softer. However the sustain pedal lifts dampers and thus the notes are sustained till the player releases the pedal or till the life of the sound produced. You may find some pianos with addition of a little complicated middle pedal that performs a variety of different functions according to different piano models.
Does my piano need tuning?
An acoustic piano needs tuning at least twice a year. Many of the manufacturers recommend that a new piano should be tuned 4 times a year but thereafter it could be done twice. Keeping piano tuned is important.
How often should I clean my piano keys?
Frequency of cleaning a piano truly depends upon your usage. If your piano is regularly used, you may need to clean your piano keys every week however if it is rarely used you can schedule cleaning in 6 months. Follow tips for cleaning piano keys in order to get cleaning done effectively without damaging keys.
Tips for tuning a piano
Piano tuning requires professional knowledge and practice; however some regular or emergency tuning can be performed simply by learning some important tips and tricks. Here we have shared some techniques that enable you to get your piano back in to a playable condition. However if you cannot tune piano by following these simple tips, you must get help of a professional piano tuner.
- In order to get your piano tuned, you should know internal structure of your piano. Knowing your piano would prevent you from making mistakes like breaking a string or else.
- Open your piano cover and remove dust by blowing air.
- You should know middle C of your piano. If you are unaware of strings, you should not try tuning piano by yourself.
- Check for hammer for middle C. You should check that how many strings are being hit by the hammer one, two or three.
- Locate strings’ pin by following hammer to the pin.
- You must one string at a time. Hit the piano key for hammer actuation and place tuning wedges (rubber) against all the strings that vibrate.
- With the use of a turning wrench, slightly loosen the string that you are tuning.
- Now set the turner at C and tighten it. Do not over-tighten as your string may break.
- Remove the tuning wedge from one of the strings and check by hitting the key.
- Then you need to tune second string and tune it to match the sound of first one.
- You should follow these steps for rest of the strings through middle octave.
- Once you are done with middle action, move to lower and higher octaves.
Some Important Tips to Follow:
- Make sure that you turn the wrench slightly at a slow pace. Over stretching may break the string completely and thus you will witness even worse sound condition from your piano.
- Pins must be twisted only gently. Do not be hard with pins as it may get loosen up and may get permanently damaged.
- Breaking a string is common if you do not know basics of tuning.
- When you break a string, it can even give you serious injury.
- If you are unsure of any step of tuning, make sure to contact a professional tuner for this job and avoid taking risk with yourself and the instrument.
- If you own a high-end piano model which is really expensive, avoid trying your hands on tuning. You may end up damaging or loosing pins while practicing tuning over your expensive piano.
- You must always consider learning to tune piano first rather than trying your own skills over it.
- For those who want to become professional tuners, you must educate yourself at a dedicated school for this skill and get yourself familiar with this job. For tuning your own piano, you should consider educating yourself through resources available online.
- Tuning tools would need a little investment but it would be a long term one. So opt for a reliable tuning set as you will be using it for years. Avoid looking for cheap kits as they may be of no use to you.
Choosing the best digital piano may seem like a daunting task, but knowing what you need and want is a good way to start in making the process painless and easy. This site contains all the information you need regarding digital pianos, as well as honest and critical reviews of these products. We want you to enjoy the whole piano experience, and we will get you started on your musical journey by helping you choose the best one for you.