How To Choose The Right Piano?
By Varand Toros-Adami
To Choose a piano there are usually 3 factors to consider.
I. The Type of the piano.
II. The Brand of the piano.
III. The Budget.
There are 2 main types of piano. Electric, and Acoustic.
Let us dive deeper and analyze the pros and cons of each instrument.
Electric pianos have five main advantages over acoustic instruments.
I. They are generally much more affordable than a new or even sometimes used acoustic piano.
II. You can adjust their volume, or use a headphone if you wish to be more considerate of your family members or neighbors.
III. They are easy to move around, and do not require piano movers.
VI. Unlike the acoustic pianos, they do not need to be tuned.
V. They can be connected to many other devices such as, speakers, audio interfaces, or a computer.
Although electric pianos have all those main advantages, they all come with a main disadvantage, and that is they are not acoustic instruments.
Acoustic pianos have their own come back at the electric piano.
First of all they have the superior sound quality, that no electric piano can ever match.
Second of all they have the most accurate keyboard touch/sensitivity, that is almost impossible for the electric pianos to ever fully replicate.
Lastly, they do not use any electricity. Which means they have the ability to be used even during blackouts.
Now that these two main types of pianos have been discussed, let us dive a bit deeper in the subcategories of these instruments.
With the electric pianos, there are numerous options. They start very basic, and move up to very complicated ones. depending on the needs of the user, one can expect to spend somewhere between few hundred dollars, all the way to few thousand dollars.
As a general rule, if you like to have a decent electric piano, it must have these 4 qualities.
I. keyboard must have 88 keys.
II. keys must be weighted.
III. It must have the foot pedals.
IV. It must be on a stable stand.
Apart from the mentioned qualities, any other button that the electric piano might come with are considered bells and whistles for a piano student.
However if you wish to use it for composition or perhaps some live performances, the extra buttons may come in handy.
On the other hand, the acoustic pianos have two main types.
I. The upright.
II. The grand.
The upright pianos are generally more affordable and take up less space. And the grand pianos are exact opposite. That being said, whenever it is possible, it is better to purchase the grand piano. In general, a grand piano has a much rounder tone quality, as well as much better keyboard action, compared to an upright.
Although each one of the mentioned acoustic pianos come with few subcategories, such as Baby Grand, Concert Grand, etc, they are only subcategories. This means they will have an impact on the sound quality, the keyboard action, and of course your wallet.
As far as number of keys and the weight of them, do not worry, because all the modern day acoustic pianos are weighted and they all have at least 88 keys.
When considering the brand, there are 5 main questions that one can look into before purchasing a piano.
I. How long has the company been in that business?
II. Does the instrument have warranty?
III. How much does it cost to repair compared to other brands?
IV. What is the country of origin?
V. Is it handmade?
Although the mentioned checklist can be used for electric pianos as well, they carry more weight for acoustic instruments. For instance, companies such as
Büsendorfer, or Steinway & Sons are European companies with much older heritage, they are predominantly handmade, and they use very special wood and higher quality materials in their pianos.
Budget is something that each individual has to figure out for themselves, however it is better to purchase an instrument that is a bit more expensive, but one that will stay with you for much longer, rather than purchasing a cheeper one and having to go through upgrading it sooner than needed.
Although this article is about the guid in purchasing piano, it is note worthy to mention the importance of owning a well made height adjustable bench.
A stable height adjustable piano bench is one of the most crucial components for any piano student or even concert pianist. Without the proper height, width, as well as the proper cushion density, the piano student or even the concert pianist will have much harder time in front of the piano. Also with long term use of an incorrect piano bench, expect unnecessary tensions in your body, that could lead to injuries.
So when purchasing any type of piano, please consider owning a well made height adjustable piano bench as well.
The bottom line is that although an electric piano cannot replace an acoustic instrument, as far as accuracy of touch, and tone quality, they are a great choice for those who need to have an instrument with the ability to control the volume, is easy to move, does not require tuning, and is much more budget friendly compared to a new acoustic instrument.
If you are interested in taking piano lessons, and the adjustable volume is an important issue, or you do not have much room in your home, or perhaps you want to approach it without spending too much money upfront, then an electric piano might just be the best option to begin your musical journey with, and as you progress then upgrade to a more suitable piano.
Here are some recommendations to full size 88 key weighted electric pianos, and height adjustable piano benches.
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