When you’re beginning to learn how to play piano, it doesn’t matter what you play on. A baby grand, a Yamaha digital piano, or your grandmother’s old organ you pulled out from the garage – it’s all going to sound the same under your fingers. (Can anyone hear a cat walking across the keys?) But once you have a few months (or more) under your belt, you’ll begin to take note of your instrument. More than likely, you’ll realize that the small keyboard that you startedon isn’t going to support you as you develop your skills. In that case, you need an upgrade, but first consider this: will you go digital or acoustic for your next piano?
There are many pros and cons to both styles of pianos, so it’s important to know what differentiates them in regards to sound quality and budget.
When someone says ‘piano’ typically the image of an acoustic piano is what people have in mind. Upright or grand, they have a particular aesthetic that many people prefer over the look of digital pianos. But it’s their sound that sets them apart from the modern keyboard. The keys of an acoustic piano are incredibly sensitive and give you the power to switch between a soft pianississimo and thundering fortississmo simply by subtracting or adding the pressure behind your fingers. The sound is produced when the depression of the keys cause a felt-covered hammer to strike the strings. This mechanism creates the distinctive timbre of a traditional piano.
Most digital pianos can’t recreate this sound, even if you find a model that has weighted keys that mimic the internal mechanism of an acoustic piano. You can’t escape the tinny electronic sound that a digital piano creates. On the flip side, a modern keyboard is much more versatile than a traditional piano, and most models give you the option of changing the pitch, vibrato, and style of sound that you create. You can alter the digital piano to play as a trumpet, choir voice, or harpsichord.
The only way to know if you can tolerate the sound of a digital piano is by testing one out for yourself. If you live in the Great White North, you can go to any Long & McQuade music store in Canada and check out their selection of acoustic and digital pianos. A helpful representative can help you if you have any questions. Otherwise, going through their collection of pianos to see what sounds the best for you is in your best interest.
Sometimes, however, it’s not what sounds the best that’s actually the best. Should your apartment be as modest as your budget, a digital piano is the better choice over an acoustic model. Whether you choose a Nord, Yamaha, Roland, or Korg, these digital pianos are set to a smaller price point than their acoustic counterparts.Digital pianos require very little upkeep, whereas traditional pianos need regular tuning and a humidity feature, both of which will add to its cost. Modern keyboards also weigh less and take up less space, which means they can fit in cramped quarters. And should annoying neighbours give you trouble about the noise, you can easily plug in a pair of headphones and keep your volume to a minimum.
So take some time in between practicing to consider your needs and wants for your new piano. Price, sound quality, and space all have their parts to play in your choice.